Woliner gave a peek behind the curtain on The Daily Beast's Last Laugh podcast, revealing that even he went undercover to dupe the film's marks. The director, who was raised Jewish in New York, dyed his hair blonde and went by "Chris" to avoid tripping any alarms among those in Trump's orbit.
"Sacha thought that I would come off as more trustworthy to the kinds of people we were filming with,” he said. “I would look less coastal... less, uh, ‘globalist’ maybe.”
As Chris, Woliner managed to set up the hotel room meeting between Giuliani and Bakalova. He hid in a nearby control room and texted updates to Baron Cohen, who was hiding in a purpose-built cubby and waiting to pop out.
"So they’re doing this interview. He’s saying all these shocking things about COVID and all this racist stuff about Chinese people," he said, explaining that they broke in on the interview in ridiculous ways several times to give Giuliani a chance to see something fishy was happening. "
And then the interview winds down and they go into the bedroom. And of course there are no visible cameras in the bedroom. And then it’s really as you see it. He’s touching her shoulder, he’s asking for her number. He sits on the bed, he touches her lower back. And every moment of that we were watching thinking, 'Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.'"
Woliner signaled Baron Cohen to bust in at that exact moment, before it went from a joke to a "sting operation." Having seen the moment up close, Woliner doesn't buy Giuliani's shirt-tucking excuse."My jaw hit the floor. It was one of those moments you never forget. And that’s when we said, “OK, Sacha, I think it’s time to go in now," he said.
"You know, I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve seen a lot of people get microphones applied and removed," Woliner added. "I’ve never seen anyone have to lie on a bed and put their hands down their pants."
The entire interview, including an explanation of how the crew got into a White House press briefing for an unused scene is available to listen to here.