Borat Subsequent Moviefilm made headlines (even before its Amazon Prime Video release) with its most harrowing scene: the aftermath of an interview between former New York City mayor and Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Borat’s (Sacha Baron Cohen) daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova). In the film, Baron Cohen’s Borat arrives to stop the scene unfolding as one would fear it would, but the star revealed that he was genuinely “scared that it would veer into an even more ugly situation.”
In a conversation with Ben Affleck for Variety’s Actors on Actors series, Baron Cohen revealed how he, director Jason Woliner, and the Borat 2 production pulled off the prank against Rudy Giuliani, even with the fear that it could easily go wrong:
“In that scene, we built a secret compartment inside a wardrobe for me to stand in, and it was about six foot six. I’m standing in complete darkness. I have to change into this erotic outfit to seduce Giuliani with. And the idea was that I would communicate with a mobile phone.I switched on the cellphone. I’m in pitch black and it’s got 4%. It’s an hour-and-a-half scene. And actually, I interrupted the scene. There was one other version where room service brings in a trolley, and I’m hiding in the trolley. I never thought that he was actually going to go in the room.”
But Baron Cohen explained that Bakalova’s safety was his top priority, even with the disadvantage of his low-battery phone. He had to keep turning the phone off and on to conserve battery power, as the interview was scheduled to last an hour and a half. And at one point he turned on the phone to find text messages from the film’s director saying, “NOW! NOW! NOW!” at which point he burst out of the closet and rushed into the bedroom to find Giuliani laying on the bed.
“I was hoping for the movie they would [go in the room]. But also, you know this as a producer and a director, I have an actress there who I need to look after and protect as well. We’re putting her in a situation with a powerful man who may or may not have been in this situation before. And then eventually I basically ran in, but I had no idea that he was on the bed.”
Fortune seemed to be on Baron Cohen’s side, as Affleck remarked that the scene played out as if Borat had arrived just on time “before this turns into something that is so horrible that we can’t even put it in the movie.”
“Yeah,” Baron Cohen answered. “We were scared that it would veer into an even more ugly situation.”
Guiliani has come under discretion for the scene, to which he claimed that he was merely tucking in his shirt. You can see the actors conversation segment where Baron Cohen explains how they filmed the Giuliani sequence below.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Affleck discuss the Rudy Giuliani scene in #Borat2, and how Cohen avoided Giuliani’s security sweeping the room | #ActorsOnActors presented by @AmazonStudios https://t.co/HryYNSXDrs pic.twitter.com/I53R9Awm4H
— Variety (@Variety) January 22, 2021
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