Austria's "Bruno" picks man as TV dance partner

Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:32am EST
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VIENNA (Reuters) - A gay Austrian television celebrity thought to have inspired the Bruno film character has chosen a man as his partner for the country's next TV dance contest.

"I am going to dance with a heterosexual. This is not about being gay," Alfons Haider, 53, told the Oesterreich newspaper in an interview published on Wednesday.

"I do not want my appearance on the show to be reduced to homosexuality. This is about the show, about entertainment. I am not the gay Joan of Arc."

Haider, who has hosted Austria's Dancing Stars show in the past, chose dance professional Balazs Ekker as his partner to compete in this season's event.

It remained unclear which one would lead.

"There is no 100 percent answer to this because no one has done this before," the paper quoted Ekker as saying. "But there is no way I am going to don a skirt and stockings to give the impression we're normal."

Film critics have identified Haider as the unwitting model for English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno character, an outlandish gay fashion reporter who aims to become "the biggest Austrian superstar since Hitler."

(Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by Paul Casciato)