In an interview with the The Daily Telegraph, Sacha Baron Cohen revealed that he is retiring his Borat and Ali G characters. He claims that too many people know them and he reluctantly acknowledges that he can no longer retreat behind their personas.
Cohen told the newspaper: "When I was being Ali G and Borat I was in character sometimes 14 hours a day and I came to love them, so admitting I am never going to play them again is quite a sad thing," he said. "It is like saying goodbye to a loved one. It is hard, and the problem with success, although it's fantastic, is that every new person who sees the Borat movie is one less person I 'get' with Borat again, so it's a kind of self-defeating form, really. "It's upsetting, but the success has been great and better than anything I could have dreamed of."
Da Ali G Show, which originated in the U.K., crossed the Atlantic and became a cult favorite on U.S. cable television thanks to hilariously idiotic and offensive questions to former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, Newt Gingrich, former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, Donald Trump and the former Surgeon-General C. Everett Koop, among others.
Ali G's popularity led to Cohen's first film, Ali G Indahouse after which he provided one of the voices in the animated film Madagascar and then played an obnoxious French racing river in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
Then Borat, the film featuring the character who had first appeared on the Da Ali G Show. Helped by objections from the official government of Kazakhstan and Baron Cohen's wildly funny promotional appearances on any talk show that would have him, Borat became a phenomenon, although not everybody was happy.
"Since last year I've been sued by about 3,000 people," said Baron Cohen. "Some of the letters I get are quite unusual, like the one where the lawyer informed me I'm about to be sued for $100,000 and at the end says, "P.S. Loved the movie. Can you sign a poster for my son Jeremy?'"
Cohen can currently be seen in the movie Sweeney Todd and he is finishing work on his next project, which features Bruno, the gay, Austrian fashion reporter who also made his first appearance with Ali G, although Baron Cohen is unwilling to discuss it.