Sacha Baron Cohen offered some fascinating behind-the-scenes details from the making of Borat Subsequent Movie Film — including how that infamous Rudy Giuliani scene came about — during an interview with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show Monday, October 26th.
To start, Colbert asked Baron Cohen to respond to Giuliani’s statement denying he did anything inappropriate in Borat’s climactic scene, where he appears to touch himself while alone in a hotel suite with Borat’s daughter, Tutar, played by Maria Bakalova (Giuliani has said he was just tucking his shirt in). “My feeling is, if he sees that as appropriate, then heaven knows what he’s intended to do with other women in hotel rooms with a glass of whisky in his hand,” Baron Cohen said.
Baron Cohen then discussed the actual filming of the scene, explaining that they’d built a hideaway in a wardrobe, where he stashed himself until director Jason Woliner — who was monitoring the feeds from the hidden cameras — texted him it was time to jump out. While the secret chamber was discrete enough to go unnoticed when Giuliani’s bodyguard swept the room, Baron Cohen said, at the pivotal moment, when he turned his phone on, he saw the battery was at 3%.
“I thought, hold on, we’ve got Rudy Giuliani, we’ve got the president’s lawyer, we’ve got this scene, this is the climax of the movie — and no one thought it might be worth charging the phone?” Baron Cohen exclaimed. “So, I managed to keep it on airplane mode and occasionally check in.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Baron Cohen discussed what it was like living undercover as Borat with two conspiracy theorists for several days at the start of the pandemic, as well as the moment he was nearly found out while pretending to be a country singer at a far-right, anti-lockdown protest in Washington. During that scene, Baron Cohen says not only was he undercover, but several people involved in a Black Lives Matter counter-protest had gone undercover, too, to scope out the scene at the anti-lockdown protest. It was those undercover BLM protesters who realized it was Baron Cohen on stage, and word quickly spread. Baron Cohen then shared a genuinely chilling clip of the anti-lockdown protesters running him off stage, and while he quickly found shelter in his van, he still had to hold the door shut as people tried to break in.
Asked if that kind of thing happened often, Baron Cohen said: “It’s fairly rare, I mean it happens occasionally. This was the first movie where I’ve had to wear a bulletproof vest. One of the guys who stormed the stage went for his pistol… and luckily enough there was a very brave guard who actually grabbed his hand, leaned in and said, ‘It’s not worth it, buddy.’”