By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
PARK SLOPE — "Thank you for hiring me as general manager!" the man with the foreign accent says to the overall-clad young woman in Park Slope's fictional "Free Earth Collective" (Park Slope Food Co-op anyone?).
"No," the woman says. "You can’t do that. I’m the manager."
"I can if I kill you!" he answers.
This is one of the Brooklyn-centric scenes from Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator, which opens next week. It's the story of Admiral General Aladeen, dictator of the impoverished and fictional North African nation of Wadiya, who comes to New York to give a speech at the United Nations.
However, Aladeen is kidnapped, his beard is shaved and he's let loose onto the streets of New York.
He tries in vain to convince police that he is expected to give a speech at the U.N. The food collective manager mentioned above, played by Anna Faris, rescues him and takes him to Brooklyn.
Once at the Free Earth Collective — whose slogan is, "for an agri-cultural and sustainable world" — more comic scenes catalyze around Baron Cohen, known to audiences for his previous comedies Borat and Bruno. When a kid insults him in the store's aisles, Aladeen kicks him forcefully in the rear. When someone tells him to hurry up, Aladeen punches him in the jaw and keeps working. It seems he can’t shake his dictator habits!
Wait a minute, you might say. Did The Dictator actually film in Brooklyn, or did it choose other locations to stand in for the borough?
The Dictator is authentically Brooklyn, according to Marybeth Ihle of the Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment. Here are the Brooklyn locations where The Dictator filmed in the summer of 2011 (most of them in Williamsburg): a warehouse at Kent Avenue and North 12th Street; Cinemagic Studios at Kent Avenue and South 8th Street; a building at Kent Avenue, between Broadway and South 6th Street, staged to look like a police stationhouse; North 12th Street between Kent Avenue and Berry Street; Kent Avenue between Broadway and South 6th Street; an apartment at Kent Avenue between Broadway and South 8th Street; Eagle Street Rooftop Farm at Eagle Street between West and Franklin streets; a vacant lot on West Street and Calyer Street; and St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church at Montague and Clinton streets in Brooklyn Heights.
The Dictator will open with a midnight showing at several Brooklyn theaters on May 16.
Brandon Serrano, manager of the Cobble Hill Cinema, said, "We just booked it. It's going to be in our largest cinema. Our last midnight showing, The Avengers, sold out. The Dictator is getting a lot of the same buzz as Borat — same actor, same concept." Borat was extremely popular, he recalls.
The Dictator will also open at the UA Court Street Stadium, BAM Rose Cinemas and the UA Sheepshead Bay 14.