The "face-off" between Sacha Baron Cohen's bare backside and Eminem's mug came as a surprise to the viewers of Sunday's MTV Movie Awards, but just how shocked was the rapper also known as Marshall Mathers?
To hear host Andy Samberg's head writer, Scott Aukerman, tell it, not at all.
Ending nearly 24 hours of silence from all involved parties, Aukerman took to his blog to set the record straight: "Yes, the Eminem-Bruno incident was staged. They rehearsed it at dress [rehearsal] and yes, it went as far as it did on the live show."
As previously reported, Cohen's "Bruno" alter ego landing in Eminem's lap was of course a prearranged stunt. "There's no way it was an accident," an industry insider who was seated a few rows in front of Eminem told TVGuide.com. "You don't let two stars collide without a detailed plan."
As such, Bruno's airborne entrance was purposely detoured by speakers that were lowered into his path during the previous commercial break. That bit of equipment manipulation — coupled with the director's cut to Eminem several seconds before Bruno's "fall" — made for the first "smoking gun."
What about the appearance that tensions escalated when Cohen thrust his bare derriere in Eminem's face? While a spokesperson for the recording artist has not yet responded to multiple requests for comment, head writer Aukerman's blog now confirms that it was all for show. (When considering Eminem's compelling performance, remember that he did collect the occasional accolade for his acting debut in the semibiographical 2002 film 8 Mile.)
"Everyone was laughing about it during the next break," says our eyewitness, "especially the MTV staffers."
While it is true that Eminem, after "storming out" in disgust, never returned to his seat, that was the M.O. of many a star who shone at the awards show.
"Most of the big celebs came, did their thing and left," reports our onlooker.
MTV reps declined to comment on the incident.