Sacha Baron Cohen said on Sunday that he would be retiring the madcap Kazakh journalist Borat after his most recent project, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” pointing out that the role had become too dangerous.
“The gray suit is locked up and not coming out again,” Cohen said during a question-and-answer session during Sunday’s virtual Golden Globes.
The English actor took home the award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy for his performance in the film, which he called “the most dangerous project I’ve ever had to work on.”
Nevertheless, Cohen said that he had been inspired to take up Borat’s iconic suit and prank a number of unwitting interviewees — including Rudy Giuliani — into showcasing their hidden prejudices largely due to the unique challenges facing America prior to the Nov. 3 election.
“I made this movie because of Donald Trump, because I felt that democracy was really in danger,” Cohen said. “I felt that the underbelly I’d exposed in ‘Borat 1’ of anti-Semitism, hatred and misogyny had become overt. Racists were out and proud; we had one that was the president, and he was spreading these conspiracy theories and hate and lies, and he was really helped by social media as well. I felt that the only thing I could do was pull out the gray suit and do Borat again.”
Cohen thanked his production staff, who had risked their health helping him film the movie covertly in a number of locations across the U.S. in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, and said that the priority had been to release the film before the election as “me ringing the bell, saying this is the danger of re-electing [Trump.]”
“There were times when I had to wear a bulletproof vest because there were really dangerous situations [during filming],” Cohen added. “But we felt that we had to make this movie because of the dangers of Trump and Trumpism and the upcoming election, and amazingly we managed to pull it off, even with coronavirus.”
Cohen has previously spoken out on the challenges of filming the second “Borat.” In October, he said he was “quite concerned” for the safety of his co-star Maria Bakalova, who masqueraded as a reporter interviewing Giuliani in a now-infamous hotel room scene where the former New York mayor appeared to be removing his pants until he was interrupted.
In an editorial for Time released that same month, the actor also described one scene where he had masqueraded as a singer at a conservative rally in Olympia, Washington. There, he encouraged willing participants to sing a number of racist lyrics about injecting liberals with the “Wuhan flu.” Eventually, the joke was revealed and several rally members with semiautomatic weapons tried to stop Cohen from leaving — causing the actor to muse that he was “fortunate to make it out in one piece.”
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