While 2020 was a year of great surprises when it came to which films were able to release and which had to be delayed, arguably the biggest surprise of the year was that Sacha Baron Cohen had secretly finished filming a sequel to his iconic mockumentary Borat. Monica Levinson, one of the producers of the sequel, recently told CinemaBlend that working on Borat 2 was incredibly stressful because of the air-tight security around the project.
"It's super stressful. I produced Borat and Bruno you know, way back when, so I had practice in filming in secret. When your friends ask you what you're doing, you have to make up a story or just say, 'Oh, just this little thing,' and you kind of brush over it and you don't talk about it. I don't think I said the word 'Borat' until gosh, way after the trailer was out because it was just, it scares me. I mean we are so trained not to say the character's name and we don't make mistakes. If you say the character's name in practice in any way, shape or form, or in any pages that we receive or any outlines it's more likely that you will slip up at some point. And the reality is that if we don't film in secret, the movie is not going to be successful or get made successfully because then if people know what's happening, then it's nearly impossible to make it."
Both Borat and its sequel are basically a series of conversations between Baron Cohen's character and ordinary people who are not aware they are in a mockumentary. Pulling off such a stunt after the runaway success of the original Borat was extremely difficult according to Monica Levinson, which is why the director of the sequel, Jason Woliner, was also against the idea of making a sequel at first, according to his own words.
"I basically said [to the production team] that Borat is the funniest movie ever made and that it's almost certainly a mistake to do a sequel... 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. 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."
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 first appeared at CinemaBlend. Woliner's comments come from Insider.com.