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Albert Brooks' Comedy Causes Controversy Due to Muslim Links

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Oct 10, 2005 | 7:18am EDT

Studio executives at Sony have scrapped plans to release Albert Brooks' new movie Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World because they fear it will offend Muslims.

Brooks, who plays a comedian recruited by the U.S. Government to research what makes Muslims laugh in the comedy, reveals politically correct movie bosses told him they "didn't want to take a chance" with the film.

And, in a recent letter to the actor/director, Sony chairman Michael Lynton told Brooks he wouldn't release the film unless the Broadcast News star changed the title.

Lynton wrote, "I do believe that recent incidents have dramatically changed the landscape that we live in and that this, among other things, warrants changing the title of the film."

Brooks refused to change the title of the film, financed by Elizabeth Hurley's producer ex Steve Bing, and now plans to release the project through Warner Independent Pictures next year.

Warner Independent Pictures boss Mark Gill can't understand what all the fuss is about: "We saw the movie, and it was clear that Albert makes fun of himself and America, not anybody else."

Meanwhile, Brooks reveals he was inspired to make Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World in the wake of 9/11.

He says, "For so long afterward, whenever I heard anyone talk about Muslims, it was in association with terrorism and I thought, what could I do in a teeny way to defuse this?

"There had to be some way to separate the 1.5 billion people who don't want to kill us from the 100,000 or so who do. I thought if I could get five Muslims and six Hindus and maybe three Jews to laugh for 90 minutes, then I've accomplished something."

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