[13 July 2009]
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City hotelier Blaine Proctor makes his screen debut in “Bruno.”
“We signed a waiver under false pretenses,” he explained.
Proctor, the director of sales and marketing for the Hotel Phillips downtown, appears about halfway through the new Sacha Baron Cohen movie.
In the film, a hotel maintenance man finds Bruno (Baron Cohen) and his assistant/lover Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten) handcuffed together in a human knot in Room 2010 (the hotel is never identified, but it’s there on the maintenance guy’s nametag).
The two men are wearing only black leather S&M harnesses. Several gerbils are running around an open dresser drawer. Bruno says they’ve lost the handcuff keys.
Clearly freaked out, the maintenance man retreats to the hallway and calls for backup. Soon several hotel officials — Proctor among them — arrive to take in the bizarre scene.
“We were told something completely differently was happening,” Proctor said this week, “that they were making a documentary about a European man traveling around the U.S. and how he interacts with Americans and our culture.
“Which I guess in a way is true.”
Hotel employees didn’t realize Baron Cohen was involved until the maintenance man answered the call.
“The people we were dealing with up to that moment were as professional as any you’d hope to meet,” Proctor said. “We absolutely believed this was a real documentary crew.”
He said the hotel’s lawyer had examined the waivers signed by employees and concluded there was no recourse. The filmmakers could use the footage however they liked.
There’s some consolation in that Baron Cohen is becoming well-known, Proctor said.
“He probably won’t be able to pull off this sort of thing in the future.”