Cannes 2012: 'Dictator' Star Sacha Baron Cohen Invades Historic Hotel

10:54 AM PST 05/14/2012 by Pamela McClintock

The entrance to the luxurious Carlton is decked out with floor-to-ceiling renderings of Baron Cohen's character Admiral General Aladeen.

CANNES -- He's back.

In 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen showed up at the Cannes Film Festival in a mankini to promote his comedy Borat, which went on to gross more than $260 million worldwide. The stunt made headlines around the world, underscoring how valuable Cannes can be in touting a film that's not even playing the festival.

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This year, Baron Cohen and Paramount are hoping to make just as much of a splash with The Dictator, which begins rolling out Wednesday around the world, including in North America.

To that end, Paramount has adorned the entrance of the famous Carlton Hotel with floor-to-ceiling renderings of Baron Cohen as The Dictator's Admiral General Aladeen, ruler of Wadiya. And on Wednesday, Baron Cohen will show up in character at the Carlton for a stunt and press conference.

The luxury hotel is always ground zero for studio promotions during the festival, with pedestrians crowding around to snap pictures of various billboards on the building's facade. The Dictator already was drawing plenty of interest Monday, even though the festival doesn't officially get underway until Wednesday night.

The Dictator reunites Baron Cohen with Borat and Bruno director Larry Charles. The R-rated comedy also stars Ben Kingsley and John C. Reilly.

Paramount is using the Carlton facade to plug two other films, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and the Tom Cruise pic One Shot, which is due out at Christmas. And on the Carlton pier, there's a huge billboard of DreamWorks Animation and Paramount's Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, which is playing in competition at the festival.

 

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