We already knew that Maria Bakalova’s performance as Tutar, Borat’s daughter in Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, is awards-worthy fearless; like Sacha Baron Cohen, Bakalova is unafraid to place herself in potentially dangerous situations to mine them for outrageous comedy. And although her commitment to her character is already impressive enough, the 24-year-old Bulgarian actress is even more fearless than we realized. In a New York Times interview, Bakalova said the Borat casting process was so secretive, she thought she was being trafficked when she was called in for a screen test in London. She told Dave Itzkoff:
I heard from a friend there was an open call for the lead role in a Hollywood movie. And I was like, that’s not possible. We are Bulgarians. Nobody can actually see us in lead roles. I sent out self-tapes, then they called me for a screen test in London. But the project was so confidential, I was like, is this actually a project? I was sure it was going to be a human trafficking situation. I had no idea I was going to meet Sacha — it was a surprise.
Bakalova also opened up about arguably the film’s most frightening scene, in which she is alone in a hotel room with Rudy Giuliani. She said, “Sacha jumped into the room quickly, because he’s been worried about me. So, if he were late, I don’t know how things were going to go. But he came just in time.” Bakalova deserves a medal for bravery.