Published 6:52 PM EDT Jun 4, 2019
Sacha Baron Cohen was sure he’d pull a murder confession from O.J. Simpson while interviewing the former football star for his 2018 Showtime series “Who Is America?”
Baron Cohen explained that he was so good at eliciting sensational results during interviews while in disguise for “Who Is America?” that Simpson would surely fall for the plan.
“So O.J. Simpson, I’d got a little cocky,” Baron Cohen said, speaking on the Daily Beast’s Last Laugh podcast released Tuesday. “This was the last thing I’d done on the show. I was like, you know, I’d got a guy to get his buttocks out, I’d interviewed a vice president, can I get O.J. Simpson to confess to murder?”
The football star Simpson was acquitted in 1995 for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman.
More: ‘Borat’ ended Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock’s marriage, Sacha Baron Cohen says
Convincing Simpson to agree to the interview was simple enough for the “Who Is America?” production team.
“He can’t leave Vegas and we lured him with the promise of a meeting with an Arab sheikh. We said this Arab sheikh is going to give you this deal that will be worth a lot of money,” Baron Cohen said.
He trained up with an FBI interrogator before the interview.
“They have a technique for breaking down criminals and getting them to confess,” Baron Cohen said. “So within the interview, and it was quite nerve-wracking, I asked him about 45 times whether he had murdered anyone and he was getting increasingly frustrated.”
Baron Cohen conducted the interview disguised as one of his “Who Is America?” personalities, Gio Monaldo, an indiscreet Italian billionaire. Simpson never swayed from his insistence of innocence during the interview.
Baron Cohen, who revealed that his Borat character put an end to Kid Rock’s marriage to Pamela Anderson, also discussed his interview with then-businessman Donald Trump in 2003. This was conducted as one of Baron Cohen’s original screen personalities, aspiring rapper Ali G.
Trump kept the crew waiting.
“I’d interviewed academics, Nobel Prize winners, heads of the United Nations, nobody had ever kept us waiting before,” Baron Cohen said. “He kept us waiting for an hour and a half. And then I remember just before the interview, he shouts, ‘Get me the mayor!’ And I think it was (Rudy) Giuliani at the time. He starts screaming (into the phone) and I was really intimidated.”
When Trump saw he was going to be interviewed by Baron Cohen’s Ali G, he immediately insisted on a short interview.
“So he stayed about eight minutes, which was pretty good, because I was talking complete nonsense to him,” Baron Cohen said.
The interview did produce the classic Trump line: “Hundreds of millions of years ago, people were doing business. They were trading in rocks and stones and other things.”
Baron Cohen pushed back on Trump’s later assertion that he could see the Ali G interview was a hoax.
“My question is, if he saw that it was fake, why would he have claimed, as he did, that human beings have been trading in rocks for millions of years?” Baron Cohen said.