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'The Dictator's Ben Kingsley: 'Sacha Baron Cohen encouraged improv'

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Sir Ben Kingsley has revealed that Sacha Baron Cohen encouraged improvisation while shooting The Dictator.

The Academy Award winner discussed Baron Cohen's love of spontaneity in a new interview with The Huffington Post.

Sir Ben Kingsley

© Adriana M. Barraza

Sasha Baron Cohen dressed as Admiral General
"The Dictator" photocall - during the 65th Cannes Film Festival
Cannes,

© WENN / Lia Toby/WENN.com



"I know Sacha quite well - from Hugo and just knowing him, fortunately. I loved the script, very much," Kingsley recalled. "And then I met [producer] Scott [Rudin] and [director] Larry Charles here in New York to discuss the script with Sacha and maybe do a little improvising."

He continued: "Sacha wanted his cast to be comfortable - 'comfortable' is a stupid word. To be excited by improvising. Energised by improvising. No-one wants to be comfortable as an actor - you know, that's for bedtime. So, I had no doubts at all about joining Sacha."

Kingsley also joked that Baron Cohen's dual role as star and producer in The Dictator led to some odd moments on the set.

"He's a producer and he's also very aware of the writing and the material. So he has to have his peripheral vision on full alert, but, then, once you get two minutes away from 'action', he will go into character," he recalled. "And there's a song or a chant that we would use - and we would use some hand clapping.

"And I would even do that elation, 'Oooh!', that noise. And that always boosted up the energy and bonded us. It was a lovely little ritual we would go into."

Anna Faris previously revealed that The Dictator was almost 90% improvised.

The Dictator is now playing in US and UK cinemas.

Watch a trailer for The Dictator below:

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