Borat director disgusted by overblown budgets

Larry Charles, who turned the $18 million Borat into a $260+ million success, thinks studios should be ashamed of excessive budgets.

Borat director Larry Charles

With Larry Charles’ latest movie, Dicks: The Musical now out, the director has laid out just why he is keeping his budgets low. And no, it has nothing to do with studios refusing to pony up for dicks or musicals.

Appearing on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast last week, Larry Charles expressed his disdain for studios giving certain movies outlandish budgets. “Politically for me, ethically for me, I find it offensive when movies cost $250 million and the world is in the state that it’s in. So I’m also looking to make a statement in the way these things are made.” Larry Charles further defended his take by saying, “We have such a media monopoly system here that that in itself is kind of an authoritarian Big Brother sort of thing that we — they’ve figured out over the years, they don’t have to make you, they don’t have to scare you, they have to seduce you. So we’re all seduced by great TV shows and great movies, and we’re distracted by those things, and we’re then indulging in that same capitalist system and there’s no way it’s going to change as long as we do that… I struggle with that.” For what it’s worth, five movies released so far this year have had budgets of at least $250 million and we’d love to see the look on Larry Charles’ face when he hears that Fast X was pegged at $340 million — that’s almost 20 Borats!

Larry Charles has made his post-Seinfeld/Curb Your Enthusiasm career out of stories and styles that typically don’t require large budgets, with his highest being The Dictator‘s $65 million. (His other Sacha Baron Cohen collaborations, Brüno and Borat, cost $42 million and $18 million, respectively; he did not direct Borat’s sequel) Still, even with modest budgets, Larry Charles knows the studio is always keeping the box office in mind. “The way I can make a radical work is by saying that I could do it for a little money, and the way [producers] say yes to it is they think, ‘Oh, that radical little work that’s not going to cost any money is going to make money.’ Absolutely. That is the system.”

Outside of Dicks: The Musical, Larry Charles may helm a sequel to the Bill Maher-led Religulous.

Do you agree or disagree with Larry Charles’ statements about overblown budgets? Give us your take in the comments section below.

Source: Deadline

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.