Baron Cohen has had his fill of wearing disguises.
Sacha Baron Cohen is well-known for his portrayal of Borat, the crass and annoying foreigner stereotype, much to the delight of the moviegoing public. His most recent portrayal of the character in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm hit especially hard as the film was, in Baron Cohen’s own words, intended to be a warning to the American public about the dangers of reelecting Donald Trump.
“I felt democracy was in peril, I felt people’s lives were in peril and I felt compelled to finish the movie,” he told Variety last month.
However, now that the movie is safely in the can and the awards have been doled out, Baron Cohen informed Entertainment Tonight that he has decided to formally retire the Borat character. Technically, this is the second time he’s done this, as he didn’t intend to bring the character back after the first movie. This time he’s a little more serious about the decision, though, as staying in-character as Borat has put Baron Cohen’s life at risk on several occasions.
“It got two dangerous,” Baron Cohen said of filming the first two movies. “There were a couple of times I had to put on a bulletproof vest to go and shoot a scene, and you don’t want to do that too many times in your life. I was pretty lucky to get out this time, so no, I’m not doing it again. I’m going to stay with the scripted stuff.”
Sacha Baron Cohen has been chased, sued and nearly arrested while in character. But he says a scary experience at a gun rights rally solidified his decision to retire his undercover characters.
"At some point, your luck runs out," he said.https://t.co/thLFUpMIq0
— NPR (@NPR) February 24, 2021
A particular instance that intimidated him was filming the scene of an actual far-right political rally for the second film. “The night before something like that — that rally — you’re trying to go through everything that can go wrong,” he explained to ET. “In a normal scene like what we’re doing, we’re trying to make sure, ‘How do I make sure my performance is real? Have I done my research? How do I make sure the accent’s perfect?’ In this one you’re going, ‘Okay, if a bunch of guys with guns come from that side of the stage, have I got a way to get out? What happens if someone shoots me? What if a bunch of people start shooting me?’ ”
Baron Cohen’s movies have definitely had an impact, both entertainment-wise and socially, but he’s had his fill of filming undercover, and is ready to get back to more traditional filmmaking. “Yeah, I don’t want to do it again. I got away with it. I’m not pushing my luck again.”