Much has been said about the Borat sequel's infamous Rudy Giuliani scene, and Sacha Baron Cohen has now revealed how it almost came apart amid fears it would veer into "an even more ugly situation." In a long conversation with Ben Affleck for Variety's Actors on Actors series, Cohen broke down what he went through for the inteview between Giuliani and Borat's teen daughter Tutar, and how he actually "interrupted the scene."
Upon Affleck saying he was "shocked" by the moment, which saw Giuliani reaching into his pants after joining in-character actress Maria Bakalova in the bedroom, Cohen revealed the process he endured and how it almost played out differently.
"In that scene, we built a secret compartment inside a wardrobe for me to stand in, and it was about six foot six," he said, adding that he was in "complete darkness." He and the crew planned to communicate with a mobile phone as he changed into an "erotic outfit to Seduce Giuliani with," but as he turned on the phone he saw it only had four percent battery.
"It’s an hour-and-a-half scene," he continued, "And actually, I interrupted the scene. There was one other version where room service brings in a trolley, and I’m hiding in the trolley. I never thought that he was actually going to go in the room."
Affleck asked if he knew Giuliani would go with Bakalova's Tutar to the bedroom, to which Cohen replied, "I was hoping for the movie they would."
Despite his goal to catch Giuliani on film being a massive creep, Cohen was also deeply concerned for Bakalova, who made her English language film debut with the Borat sequel. "We’re putting her in a situation with a powerful man who may or may not have been in this situation before. And then eventually I basically ran in, but I had no idea that he was on the bed," he added. "We were scared that it would veer into really an even more ugly situation."
When Bakalova spoke about the scene, she made it clear that the crew and Cohen in particular were very concerned for her safety. "I don't know how things were going to go," she said, "But he came just in time." Director Jason Woliner has suggested that he doesn't buy Giuliani's excuse that he was tucking in his shirt and not touching himself inappropriately.
Watch Affleck and Cohen's full conversation up top, including talk of The Way Back and The Trial of the Chicago 7, or peruse the transcript at Variety.