One of the most unexpected cinematic offerings of 2020 was the sequel to Sacha Baron Cohen's seminal 2006 mockumentary Borat. Many longtime fans felt Borat 2 would never work in modern times when Cohen's character of the dim-witted but well-meaning Kazakhstani journalist has become such a recognizable and beloved part of pop culture. In an interview with Insider, Jason Woliner who directed the Borat sequel, revealed he himself did not initially believe the film should be made, for some very strong reasons.
"I was the first person Sacha called about directing this. I went into the meeting with him and Anthony Hines, who is a writer that's been involved in everything Sasha has done, Monica Levinson the producer, and a few other people. I told him I loved the script, but I came on very strong. I basically said that Borat is the funniest movie ever made and that it's almost certainly a mistake to do a sequel. I said in almost every version of this it's a disaster: most comedy sequels aren't good, the long-delayed sequels are extremely tough, and because of the nature of the movie, Borat is one of the most popular comedy characters of the last century so you have to find people who don't know who he is."
Clearly, Woliner came into the project as a huge fan of the original Borat, so much so that he was afraid of tainting the legacy of the movie with a less-interesting sequel. According to Woliner, Sacha Baron Cohen understood and appreciated his take on the matter of continuing the Bora franchise, so much so that Woliner was offered the job of director soon afterward.
"Sacha of course was completely aware of all of it and agreed with everything I said. If I had to guess, I think he respected that I came in with eyes open that I knew what a daunting task it was. A couple of days later, I was invited to the writer's room for a week to see if I got along with Sacha and his writing team. It was the entire group of writers from the first movie and a few new ones. Two days in, I was offered the job and I never left."
Fortunately, Woliner's misgivings were ultimately not realized. Instead of seeing the sequel as an unnecessary cash grab, the latest Borat film was embraced by fans and critics and deemed even more culturally relevant and hard-hitting than the previous movie. The Borat sequel also introduced the character of Borat's daughter Tutar, who became an instant fan favorite, and helped deepen and humanize Cohen's iconic lead character.
Directed by Jason Woliner, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bride to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is 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. This news was first shared at Insider.com.