To what do you attribute Ali G's success?
People love to be insulted by him. After the MTV Music Awards Atomic Kitten came up to us and thanked us for calling them slappers. Behind them was Ronan Keating who was incredibly gutted because we hadn't cussed him at all - we'd totally ignored him.
What was the reaction to Ali in Staines itself?
In Staines a lot of people still think Ali G is real. They would come up and say "You live next to my cousin, don't you?". And then someone else would come up and say "Your mum's buried next to mine in Staines cemetery!". They think Ali G is real and that Sacha Baron Cohen doesn't exist. If only...
How do you think the film will go down in America?
We did a test screening and everyone laughed massively. We expected it to be met with deathly silence but they loved it. Obviously certain aspects of it passed them by, but what they got they really got. The joke is slightly different: instead of a gangster from Staines it's a gangster from England. They were like, "it's "Dude, Where's My Car" only better!" That was the ultimate accolade for us. Universal are confident it will translate to America and we're going to do a series for HBO first that will hopefully break the character.
Were you worried about being too risqué?
If it got a laugh it stayed in - which is a pretty good rule for a comedy I think. Let's bear in mind it's a 15 certificate so it's all tongue in cheek. We don't show anything too graphic - there aren't any breasts or entirely naked bodies. Ali G has always trod a very narrow line and we tried to use our judgement wisely.