Fans knew the recently released Borat sequel was going to be controversial, just like the original. Yet, few were expecting one of the scenes in the film to create a heated international debate, regarding the behavior of Rudy Giuliani towards Maria Bakalova, the actress playing the part of Borat's 15-year-old daughter Tutar. In an interview with The New York Times, Bakalova revealed filming that scene was the most difficult part of the entire project.
"The scene when we were at the hotel and Rudy Giuliani called the police, I was kind of scared that something would happen. But fortunately, we escaped. My heart was racing. But Sacha was like, you should be nervous in this situation. So use your nerves. Convert them and accept them and they're going to help you through everything."
In the scene in question, Giuliani sits down with Tutar in a hotel for what he believes to be an interview and later follows her to a private room where they sit on the bed together until being interrupted by Sacha Baron Cohen in his Borat avatar. At one point, Giuliani can be seen with a hand down his pants. Since the film's release, Giuliani has insisted he was adjusting his pants, and that the scene had been edited in a deliberately defamatory manner. For her part, Bakalova wants audiences to decide for themselves what that scene could mean.
"I saw everything that you saw. If you saw the movie, that's our message. We want everybody to see the movie and judge for themselves...Sacha jumped into the room quickly, because he's been worried about me. So, if he were late, I don't know how things were going to go. But he came just in time."
The Borat sequel tells the story of Cohen's infamous Kazakhstani reporter, who once again makes his way back to America on a diplomatic peace mission. This time, Borat has his daughter Tutar with him to present as a gift to Mike Pence. But first, Borat must teach his daughter the ways of the west, which sets up a series of meetings with unexpected characters in the most outrageous scenarios.
Naturally, Maria Bakalova found the unscripted scenes particularly challenging, where the other person often was not even aware they were going to be in a movie. To get through the scenes, Baron Cohen imparted some valuable advice to his onscreen daughter.
"There were moments when the scene was extremely funny and you just can't stop laughing. It's bad, because people were able to realize that it's a joke. He taught me a trick to cross my fingers, to put pressure on my fingers, to stop laughing."
Directed by Jason Woliner, 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 now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.