This post has been updated to include new details about the cast.
In Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Sacha Baron Cohen once again wreaks havoc with a cast of fictional characters and unsuspecting American citizens, though this time he also includes some high-profile public figures to be the victims of his pranks. While the production team has stayed silent on how it cast the role of his daughter, Tutar, and how it arranged meetings with the likes of Rudy Giuliani, a Holocaust survivor, a sleazy plastic surgeon, and two avid QAnon supporters, among others, we were able to flesh out some of the backstories that shed light on the secretive making of this sequel. With this guide to all the characters in Subsequent Moviefilm, presented in order of appearance, you’ll learn a bit about how Baron Cohen and the team pulled off these stunts, and how some of his victims are handling it.
Nursultan Nazarbayev (played by Dani Popescu)
Played by Romanian actor Dani Popescu, this fictionalized Nursultan Nazarbayev is a Kazakh leader who wants to be part of Donald Trump’s “strongman club” alongside the likes of Putin and “Kenneth West.” Figuring that a direct appeal might not work, he enlists Borat to bribe “America’s most famous ladies’ man, Mikhael Pence,” who is such a “pussy hound” that he can’t be left alone in a room with a woman. Nazarbayev works in a dingy basement office, his face is always concealed by shadows, and he prefers to contact Borat by fax.
The real Nursultan Nazarbayev became Kazakhstan’s president in 1990, when the country became independent from the Soviet Union. Before his resignation in 2019, he allegedly never held a free and fair election during his tenure and was accused of massive corruption, including laundering over $1 billion from the nation. He resigned in the wake of protests against the government’s unfair treatment of average citizens, though he remains the chairman of the Security Council for life, a highly powerful position, and is still the head of the country’s ruling party, Nur Otan. He was succeeded by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who was elected in 2020.
Jonny the Monkey
Kazakhstan’s minister of culture and No. 1 porn star, Jonny is the intended gift for Vice-President Michael Pence. Tragically, he is eaten by Borat’s stowaway daughter, Tutar, on the way to the U.S., changing the course of the plot. You can find out a lot more about Jonny on his official website, which includes posters from his movies, Angry Snakes on Gypsy Boat, Squirrels Gone Wild, and Transibiersky Ekspress Too. The last film co-stars Julianne Moore and Colin Firth “because Kazakh government steal their private sexy-time videos for make blackmail.”
Tutar Sagdiyev (played by Maria Bakalova)
Borat’s 15-year-old daughter is first seen chained up in the family shed because she’s unmarried (in fact, she’s the oldest unmarried woman in the country). After the Jonny the Monkey incident, she becomes the gift that will be given to Pence, and much of the movie is spent making her over into an acceptable bride from a shithole country, à la her idol, Melania Trump. She is the youngest of Borat’s children, after his sons Bilak, Biram, and Hooeylewis (who changes his name to Jeffrey Epstein).
She’s played by 24-year-old Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, whose credits include a few films from her home country and the Italian TV show Gomorrah. It’s an impressive debut for Bakalova, who is just as game for the absurd interactions with real-life people as Baron Cohen, with the added benefit that, unlike him, nobody recognizes her. In her character’s arc, she goes from naïve peasant, to unwilling accomplice, to a somewhat independent far-right journalist. It’s in the last role that she is able to wrangle the infamous interview with Rudy Giuliani, before which she stuffs her dress with balloons because the Sagdiyevs believe he prefers women with big breasts. Overall, it’s a pretty stunning mainstream debut for the actress, whose casting was kept under wraps by Amazon. (One of the casting directors explained to Vulture that all of the crew members were under an NDA that prevented them from spilling any secrets.) Expect to hear a lot more about her soon.
A salesperson at an electronics store, he helps Borat get a cell phone and teaches him how to use FaceTime and Google. He’s unfailingly polite, even when Borat keeps looking at Pornhub on the phone, and ultimately plays a role in the film’s climax, helping to protect Borat from Nazarbayev’s plot to ruin the world with COVID.
Described as an “Instagram influencer,” Chanel explains that she is a “sugar baby,” a young woman dating an older man. Tutar visits her to get tips on how to get an older man, saying she would prefer one that’s near death, to which Chanel replies, “You should get someone who just had a heart attack.” She also advises Tutar to get a makeover and appear weak, as men do not like strong women. Despite being an “influencer,” Chanel’s Instagram page currently has no posts, and her website is listed as private. She can be seen in a promotional video for SeekingArrangement, a site that sets up attractive women with wealthier older men, alongside her husband, Randy, who is two decades older.
Pastor Jonathan Bright
Bright is the founder and executive director of Faith for Fathers, a South Carolina Christian organization designed to “help dads leave a Godly legacy.” Borat and Tutar visit him at a crisis-pregnancy center (an anti-abortion clinic, in this case) to get a baby “out” of the girl. (The baby, in this case, is a small plastic doll she accidentally swallowed while eating a cupcake Borat bought for and then feeds to her, and it acts as a small plot point throughout the movie.)
When they tell Bright that Borat “put” the baby in her, he understands that the fetus is the result of incest yet still insists she give birth. “I don’t need to hear any more of that,” he says. “Really, that is not important right now. We’re at this moment. It really doesn’t matter how we got to this moment.” When they say it was just a mistake because Borat was only trying to give Tutar pleasure, Bright replies, “God is the one who creates life, and God doesn’t make accidents.”
South Carolina’s Post and Courier newspaper reached out to Bright and the center to ask about the scene, but he did not return its calls to comment.
Dr. Jean Sheffield
A “debutante coach,” Sheffield advises Tutar on how to be an elegant woman and explains to Borat that the girl can do anything she wants, even if she’s having her monthly “moon blood” (his words, not hers). This leads to Baron Cohen and Bakalova appearing at a debutante ball in Macon, Georgia, under the names Professor Phillip Drummond III and Sandra Jessica Parker Drummond. Sheffield doesn’t have an online presence, but one ball attendee, Monroe County Reporter publisher Will Davis, recounted the incident in his newspaper. He says that everyone there was paid $100 to attend the staged event, and they were quizzed about their knowledge of pop culture ahead of time. Those who didn’t know who Baron Cohen was were put into the audience for the star and Bakalova’s father-daughter dance, in which she lifts her dress to reveal she’s covered in fake menstrual blood.
“They began dancing side by side in synch [sic] when suddenly the ‘daughter’ lifted her hoop skirt, gyrating and revealing no underwear,” Davis writes. “That’s when all of us who were sober marched to the checkout desk, demanded our phones back and hit the road. My precious daughter and I walked out into the cool Macon night with mouths agape wondering what had just happened.”
Davis says he later learned that it was all for the new Borat movie, which he believes is aiming to sway voters for Joe Biden. “I have no real problem with Borat getting a laugh at our expense. I find some of his stuff pretty funny. I will laugh a lot harder if we get the last laugh on Nov. 3.”
Surely you know who the vice-president is. He’s seen in the film at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, giving a keynote address to help the Trump reelection. This was the prank that involved Baron Cohen spending five hours in a men’s-room stall and dressing up in a Trump costume, fat suit and all, that he smuggled into the conference under a KKK robe.
Pence is seen onstage boasting about how there were only 15 cases of COVID-19 in the country and that, as Trump said, “We’re ready for anything.” At some point, Baron Cohen bursts into the hall, carrying Bakalova on his shoulder, to offer the girl to the VP, only to get escorted out by security as the crowd booed and chanted “four more years.” The February 2020 incident made news at the time, without people realizing it was Baron Cohen’s doing. It’s at this point in the film that Borat and Tutar realize their bribe to Pence won’t work, so they set their sights on Giuliani.
Dr. Charles Wallace
In order to make Tutar more appealing to Giuliani, they visit this plastic surgeon, who runs the Beauty by Design “center and med spa” in Dallas. Based on what is shown in the film, he has no qualms about giving the teenager a nose job and breast implants. “What’s wrong with my nose? Do I look like a Jew?” Tutar asks, offended. “No, ma’am. Not at all. Jew would be like this,” Wallace says, pantomiming a large, curved nose. When she asks if he would have sex with her, he laughs uncomfortably and says, “If your father was not here.”
Jones is a professional babysitter who is charged with watching Tutar while Borat tries to make enough money for her plastic surgery. Jones is incredibly kind, watching in muted horror as Baron Cohen treats Bakalova like a dog. She reads Tutar a fake Kazakh story about “a girl who was a terrible disease called curiosity” and who tried masturbating, only to get swallowed whole by her tooth-filled “vagine.” Jones patiently explains that the story isn’t true and, in a very sweet moment, explains to Tutar that she doesn’t need plastic surgery. “I want you to be happy. Think about going to school. Use your brain, because your daddy is a liar,” she says in the parking lot outside Wallace’s office.
Jones told Variety that she became involved in the “documentary” after filmmakers came to her church looking for “some elderly Black women — grandma types … Everyone did individual interviews and you answered questions to the best of your ability.” Did she suspect this shoot was perhaps not what it seemed? No. “But my longtime friend didn’t want me to go because there’s too much going on in the world. She said, ‘Jeanise, they gonna snatch you.”’
Alan “Randy” Knight
Randy is a patron at Wooten’s Barbershop, a small men’s salon where Borat cuts his hair. He’s pretty unflappable, even when Borat pulls out large shears and shows him pictures of his past barber experience, which includes trimming dead animals and castrating a sex offender. There’s no real political or social commentary in the scene — it’s just an old man going along for a bizarre ride.
Hillsborough Republican Women’s Club
It’s unclear where this Hillsborough GOP club for women is located, as there are several throughout the country. But it’s here where Tutar learns that women can own cars and tries masturbating for the first time, then gives an inspiring speech to the crowd that culminates with, “Take your panties off, everyone, and touch your vagine!” It’s a stark contrast to one of the members’ speeches about how there has been a dramatic drop in childbirth among married couples in the United States, likely due to a decline in Christian worship, but Bakalova’s bit thankfully ends without conflict.
Judith Dim Evans
In a segment that starts out horribly offensive before becoming one of the most heartwarming parts of the movie, Baron Cohen heads to Temple Kol Emeth in Marietta, Georgia. To look “Jewish,” Baron Cohen puts on a Pinocchio-like nose, claws, and bat wings and carries a bag of money, then feigns fear when he encounters the elderly Judith Dim Evans and her friend Doris. As it turns out, Evans was a Holocaust survivor, born in Germany in 1932, and she explains that Jews are not evil and that the Holocaust really did happen, despite what Facebook says.
Evans died earlier this year, and her estate filed a lawsuit against Amazon and Oak Springs Productions, demanding that the segment be cut from the film because it was done under false pretenses, with the intention to “mock the Holocaust and Jewish culture.” Baron Cohen claims that he broke character and explained the ruse to Evans in an exchange that was captured on film, and the producers helped set up a website in her honor. As seen in the end credits, the film is dedicated to her memory.
Jerry Holleman and Jim Russell
According to an interview he did with the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, Baron Cohen spent five days in character living with Holleman and Russell, two Trump-loving QAnon believers who took him in during the pandemic. They tolerate his antics, which include exercising in a thong with a prosthetic penis attached to it and ordering them Fleshlights after he tries washing their flashlight in the laundry. They explain to him why Obama and the Clintons are monsters who torture kids and drink their blood, but also push back when he makes claims about how male babies are able to walk at birth and that women are genetically inferior. They also help him write the “Wuhan Flu Song” — they’re even officially listed as songwriters in the credits — that he performed at a right-wing rally in Washington State. The lyrics include “Dr. Fauci, what we gonna do? Inject him with the Wuhan flu!,” and “Journalists, what we gonna do? We’re gonna chop ’em up like the Saudis do.” Baron Cohen later said that he was lucky to escape the rally unharmed after the crowd turned on him.
As he told Dowd, the men were basically victims of social media. “They’re ordinary folks who are good people, who have just been fed this diet of lies,” he said. “They’re completely different to the politicians who are motivated by their own power, who realized that they can create fear by spreading these lies through the most effective propaganda machine in history.”
By now you’ve probably heard about the scene in which the former New York City mayor and current Trump attorney is interviewed by Bakalova in a hotel. It’s edited to be pretty tense, as Baron Cohen tries to get her out of seducing Giuliani by first posing as a sound technician and telling him, “She’s like a nagging wife. If I were you, I would stick to marrying your cousins.” (The last part is a reference to Giuliani’s first wife, Regina Peruggi, who was his second cousin.)
Giuliani is shown drinking Scotch and talking about how COVID-19 was manufactured by the Chinese before he and Bakalova retreat to a bedroom, where he tells her, “You can give me your phone number and your address,” pats her on the lower back as they remove their microphones, then reclines on the bed with his hand quite far down his pants. It’s then that a disguised Baron Cohen bursts into the room, wearing lingerie over tighty whiteys, and shouts, “She’s 15. She too old for you!” Giuliani says, “I don’t want you,” then flees to his security team.
Now that news of the scene leaked, Giuliani has defended himself, tweeting, “The Borat video is a complete fabrication. I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment. At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar.” You can be the judge of that.
The actor plays himself in a brief cameo that reveals it was Borat who infected him with COVID. Also featured in the scene: Borat 2 director Jason Woliner.