When “Borat” premiered in 2006, it was a shocking, hilarious film that shone a light on misogyny, racism, and anti-Semitism in the U.S., but times have changed, and so has Borat. The trailer for Sacha Baron Cohen‘s “Borat 2” arrives at a moment when the prejudices Borat Sagdiyev worked to expose, are proudly open for everyone to see, and Cohen knows this.
Speaking with the New York Times, Baron Cohen explained his changed approach to the new film. “In 2005, you needed a character like Borat who was misogynist, racist, anti-Semitic to get people to reveal their inner prejudices. Now those inner prejudices are overt. Racists are proud of being racists,” Baron Cohen said. “My aim here was not to expose racism and anti-Semitism. The aim is to make people laugh, but we reveal the dangerous slide to authoritarianism.”
Indeed, though Baron Cohen once again interacts with real, unsuspecting people while in character, but now it’s less surprising to see people spout offensive things. In the interview, the actor describes spending multiple days with two conspiracy theorists during lockdown. “The hardest thing I had to do was, I lived in character for five days in this lockdown house,” Baron Cohen said. “I was waking up, having breakfast, lunch, dinner, going to sleep as Borat when I lived in a house with these two conspiracy theorists. You can’t have a moment out of character.”
Cohen even spent hours dressed up as Donald Trump, hiding in a bathroom stall to meet Mike Pence. “Obviously, I’m wearing a fat suit,” Baron Cohen said. “Security was there to check everyone’s bodies going through. Bear in mind, I spent five hours in makeup that morning with the prosthetic team changing my face into Trump’s face….I ended up hiding in the bathroom, listening to conservative men go to the toilet for five hours until I broke into the room. We were surrounded by Secret Service and police and internal security.”