Of the many surprises in Sweeney Todd, Tim Burton's musical ode to early-Victorian cannibalism, the appearance of Sacha Baron Cohen as barber rival Adolfo Pirelli is one of the most pleasant: The British comedian ably tackles the part's considerable vocal challenges, and cuts a fine figure in a form-fitting, periwinkle dandy suit, beneath which protrudes a bulge even more distractingly prominent than the one poking out of Borat's signature neon nutthong swimwear. E Online's Planet Gossip caught up with the movie's costume designer to find out where nature ended and package-enhancing magic began:
"Oh, that was the real thing," Sweeney Todd's two-time Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood told me the other day with a giggle, but quickly admitting, "Yeah, we augmented."
No surprise, it was Cohen's idea to enlarge his manhood for the flick. Cohen's body-hugging pants were stuffed with "a little quilted thing."
Well, not so little. But Atwood said she hopes it comes off somewhat authentic. "We tried different materials and different sizes and positions," Atwood said with a laugh. "You kind of forget what you're doing, and you're just sort of looking at what looks the best. I like if a lot of people think it's real."
Needless to say, Cohen would have much preferred the true contents of his meat-pie-filling to remain a mystery—not so much out of vanity, but rather to preserve the integrity of his craft. For now that we know his basket was the product of Hollywood sleight-of-hand, the considerable sacrifices he has made being smothered beneath Ken Davitian's rancid anus could just as easily be mistaken for CGI trickery.