Borat producer compares Sacha Baron Cohen films to The Revenant: ‘They’re so hard to make’


The producer of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat films has said she hopes it will be a long time before he decides to make another sequel.

Monica Levinson, the producer behind Borat Subsequent Moviefilm as well as Trumbo (2015) and Captain Fantastic (2016), told Variety that she was left exhausted by the logistical challenges the comedy film presented to her.

Discussing the film’s infamous New York hotel room scene with Rudy Giuliani, Levinson said that producers had to rush the crew out of New York state because she was worried law enforcement might attempt to “round them up”. They were forced to leave their equipment behind.

“So at 11 O’Clock at night, we’re like, ‘Go,’” she said. “We actually had to get new equipment to continue to shoot the next day.”

Asked whether another Borat film might be in the works, Levinson said she hoped not.

“Sacha [Baron Cohen] said something like, ‘Let’s do another,’ as a joke. I think he was joking. I said, ‘You’re absolutely insane,’” she recalled.

“They’re so hard to make,” she continued. “They’re really the hardest movies. People talk about The Revenant, and I just think, ‘This is so hard.’”

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 2015 film The Revenant was infamous for its gruelling production, which star Leonardo DiCaprio said involved some of the hardest scenes of his career.

“I can name 30 or 40 sequences that were some of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do,” he told Yahoo. “Whether it’s going in and out of frozen rivers, or sleeping in animal carcasses, or what I ate on set. [I was] enduring freezing cold and possible hypothermia constantly.”

Baron Cohen recently explained how a single stunt going wrong could have jeopardised the entire production of his Borat sequel.

In another famous scene, Borat Sagdiyev (Baron Cohen) infiltrates the Conservative Political Action Conference by donning an elaborate Donald Trump outfit in the toilets, before crashing a speech delivered by Mike Pence.

Speaking to Ben Affleck in an interview for Variety released last week, the actor described the aftermath of the stunt.

“I get escorted out by a bunch of Secret Service, about 11 guys,” he said. “And my main aim was not to give over my ID, because I felt like the moment they knew it was me, Sacha, that will become a big news story. And that would destroy the rest of the movie.”

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm received mostly positive reviews from critics. 

The Independent awarded the film four stars, noting it would be “one of the most talked-about films of the year”, and said the film was “both lighter and darker in tone than the original”.

Read the full review here.

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