Jeff Labrecque
May 16, 2012 AT 03:43 PM EDT

Diyah Pera/The CW

Sacha Baron Cohen is not a tyrannical megalomaniac. He just plays one on TV, and on the red carpet, and in The Dictator. That seemed to be the message he wanted to convey to Ann Curry this morning when he sat down with her — as himself, just plain Cambridge-educated Sacha — in Cannes. And he’s nothing like the cruel Admiral General Aladeen he portrays in his new movie. Take for instance his red-carpet stunt at the Oscars, where “Aladeen” poured ashes on Ryan Seacrest. He admitted to Curry that he later sent Seacrest a new jacket — though it did have a label inside that read, “Made by Slave Child Labor.” “But he didn’t send me a thank-you note,” said Cohen. “Unbelievable.”

Though EW has previously noted that Cohen wasn’t averse to being himself, Cohen boasted that this was just his third interview ever without a disguise. He explained that the real reason for those previous stunts was legal concerns. “The movies that I did up till now, they involved real people, so we wanted to limit the exposure for kinda lawsuits,” he said. “At the moment, I think I have the Guinness world record for being the most sued actor in history.”

Watch the exchange below.

Read more:

‘The Dictator’ video: Funny or not funny?

CinemaCon 2012: Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘The Dictator’ claims Roger Ebert’s thumbs & Jeffrey Katzenberg’s lips

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