Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has long been admired for the risks he takes in creating his unique brand of biting social satire using real locations and people. Watching Cohen's antics in the original Borat mockumentary made many wonder how the actor managed to film so many risky scenes unharmed. In an op-ed he wrote for Time, Cohen revealed that filming Borat 2 for director Jason Woliner was even more dangerous than the first one, and nearly cost him his life at one point.
"While filming my latest Borat film, I showed up as a right-wing singer at a gun-rights rally in Washington State. When organizers finally stormed the stage, I rushed to a nearby get-away vehicle. An angry crowd blocked our way and started pounding on the vehicle with their fists. Under my overalls, I was wearing a bulletproof vest, but it felt inadequate with some people outside toting semiautomatic weapons. When someone ripped open the door to drag me out, I used my entire body weight to pull the door back shut until our vehicle maneuvered free."
In both the original Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and its upcoming sequel, which has an equally long and frustrating title, Cohen plays the role of the dim-witted but well-meaning Kazakh journalist who travels through the United States to film a documentary featuring real-life interactions with Americans of different political and social backgrounds. Through this premise, Cohen manages to present different worldviews and opinions of the ordinary people on the street and those in positions of power in the government and society.
Cohen's style of comedy is to combine cutting social commentary with the most over-the-top physical comedy one can imagine. The latter aspect of the comedian's work is what drove the original Borat to become a cult classic, but Sacha Baron Cohen insists his brand of satire can be a powerful tool to speak truth to power.
"A lot of my comedy is uncomfortably pubescent. But when it works, satire can humble the powerful and expose the ills of society. As Abbie Hoffman, who helped lead the 1968 protests against the Vietnam War during the Democratic convention in Chicago, liked to say, "Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger." By getting people to reveal what they really believe, I have at times exposed the ignorance, bigotry and conspiratorial delusions that often lurk just below the surface of our modern lives."
The upcoming Borat sequel will see Cohen's iconic character returning to America, this time with a young daughter in tow, just in time to observe and comment on the country's election process. The trailer for the movie has confirmed it just might be even more outrageous than the original Borat. But knowing Cohen's legacy, it will also doubtless provide a lot of food for thought and discussion in the coming weeks.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bride to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan has been written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman and Lee Kern, with a story by Cohen, Hines, Swimer and Nina Pedrad. The film is expected to arrive on Amazon Prime Video on October 23. This information comes to us from Time Magazine.