Sacha Baron Cohen almost got away with making a Borat sequel in total secrecy. If it wasn’t for the comedian being caught on camera in full costume last summer, then the surprise announcement of Subsequent Moviefilm would have come completely out of the blue. That being said, shooting a mockumentary in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic is still a massively impressive achievement.
The intrepid Kazakh reporter became an international phenomenon when the first movie was released in 2006, earning over $260 million at the box office and infiltrating pop culture in the process, while Cohen won a Golden Globe for his performance and also landed an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The character had become so famous that it was even worked into Subsequent Moviefilm, adding another meta layer to the narrative as Cohen was disguised as Borat, who was then disguised as someone else. The 49 year-old was adamant that the movie be released before last year’s Presidential election as well, and after watching it, you can completely understand why.
Subsequent Moviefilm was a massive hit for Amazon, and ended up as one of the biggest streaming exclusives of 2020. However, in a new interview, Cohen admitted that he’s got no plans to bring Borat out of retirement anytime soon, if ever.
“I brought Borat out because of Trump. There was a purpose to this movie, and I don’t really see the purpose to doing it again. So yeah, he’s locked away in the cupboard. I felt democracy was in peril. I felt people’s lives were in peril and I felt compelled to finish the movie. The movie was originally about the danger of Trump and Trumpism. What the situation demonstrated was that there’s a lethal effect on his spreading of lies and conspiracy theories.
Rather than run away from how the world was dealing with it, I felt we should lean into it. Borat is a fake character, played by me, in the real world. If we got people to take their masks off, it would be a fake character in a fake world, in a manipulated world, so the basis of the comedy wouldn’t work. I don’t want to egotistically imply that people would watch Borat and not vote for Trump, but that was the aim.”
At this stage, it would be almost impossible for Cohen to pull of the same trick for a third time given how popular both Borat movies have been, and it was incredible enough that he managed to get a sequel made. Of course, you can never completely rule it out, and maybe one day in the future there will be something happening in the world that forces him to dust off the mustache again.