'Borat' Came Back 'Because of Trumpism,' Director says
Over the past four years, our nation has faced a litany of unprecedented crises -- a deadly, largely uncontrolled pandemic, a highly-controversial election, domestic terrorists storming the Capitol, and hell, even murder hornets. Yet amid this chaos, a relative voice of reason has re-emerged from the rubble -- none other than, uh, Borat Sagdiyev? Yep. We're now living in a reality so far off the rails, that Borat, the satirical figure designed to highlight America's absurdities under George W. Bush's regime, is no longer the craziest person in the room, a strange realization seeming not lost on Sacha Baron Cohen, the character's creator. As we learned last year, Borat fits in perfectly in Trump's America, his bizarre antics mirroring the zealous beliefs of some of 45's supporters, and even serving as a relatively sane sounding board in comparison to their insanity, a notion that according to Borat Subsequent Moviefilm director, Jason Woliner, was enough to convince Cohen to bring the iconic character, who he said he would retire back in 2007.
"When I first met with Sacha about it, that was something he was already talking about, was the reason he wanted to bring this character back was because of Trump, because of Trump-ism and what it's done to America," Woliner explained in a video interview with GoldDerby. "This is now two years ago, and now we're looking at it through the kind of backward lense of the events of January 6, the failed insurrection attempt, and everything seems so clear right now, but even then, he was just saying 'we need to show what America has become under Trump."
Although at first, Woliner says he "wasn't convinced" that a Borat sequel would have a major impact on our nation, he says he and the rest of the film's team least wanted to "attempt" to elucidate the concerning state of America ahead of the 2020 election. "We knew we would have this ability to put something in front of millions and millions of people, and so part of the thinking was 'if we could show this movie, that the experience of watching it, the totality of that experience, leaves you with a feeling that maybe is crystalized, that you couldn't quite explain before,'" he said of his intentions. "If you were somewhere on the fence or if you were a Trump supporter, then maybe you could walk away thinking 'oh this is pretty dark, this is pretty ugly.'"
Conservatives of all sorts too, could also glean something from this cinematic take on the state of our union. "If you were a kind of moderate Republican, who wasn't necessarily in kind of that 'Trump cult,' that you could watch this and get a sense of 'oh, America is not in a good place right now,.' It was our hope that at least possibly it could demoralize the moderate Trump supporters." And Borat 2's political messages aren't just for those on the right, urging those on the left to vote blue even if they didn't like the nominee. "We felt like no matter who it was from the Democrats side, Trump was. a very specific threat to the idea of America and to America moving forward that myself and Sacha and everyone working on the movie felt like it was worth a shot," he explained. Even since its release last October, Woliner also says he believes the film's thesis has grown more pertinent in 2021. "Since the movie's come out, it seems to have become more and more clear the reality of what America's going through right now and that was. the goal from the beginning."
So, readers, it's been a long year and it's only January. I would say we can do better than having Borat, the satirical character designed to highlight America's abundant shortcomings, become a relative voice of reason, but who knows. Hey, if things somehow manage to get worse, at least we may get a third installment of Borat. Silver linings, anyone?