Maria played Borat’s daughter Tutar (Picture: Amazon Studios)
Borat 2’s breakout star Maria Bakalova thought that her audition for the Sacha Baron Cohen film was a ‘human trafficking situation’.
The Bulgarian actress played Borat’s teenage daughter Tutar Sagdiyev in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, with viewers calling for Bakalova to be Oscar nominated for her performance.
But before she landed the role, Bakalova was unsure if the project was even legit.
Speaking to the New York Times, she explained that she was dismissive of the open call for a lead role in a Hollywood movie because ‘nobody can actually see [Bulgarians] in lead roles’.
She said: ‘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.’
The actress didn’t think a Bulgarian would be given a lead role in a Hollywood film (Picture: Instagram)
Baron Cohen auditioned over 600 actors for the role of Tutar, and said that Bakalova’s ‘capacity to deliver a scene and make you cry’ clinched her the role.
Speaking recently on Good Morning America, the 49-year-old said: When we did the breakup scene in the movie, I had to stop it because I felt myself getting quite emotional. She’s one of a kind.
‘Imagine coming to America for the first time, and you’re playing a role with real people in some terrifying situations. She got through it all. She’s a revelation.’
The 24-year-old actress plays 15-year-old Tutar who is shipped to the US from Kazakhstan, with her father deciding to offer her as a gift to a member of Donald Trump’s inner circle.
This leads to a controversial scene in which Tutar, masquerading as a reporter, ends up in a hotel room with former New York City mayor and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Maria doesn’t feel bad about the Rudy Giuliani scene (Picture: Amazon Prime)
Bakalova told the New York Times that she wasn’t very familiar with Giuliani before the film but trusted Baron Cohen’s judgement – although she was ‘nervous’ to film the scene.
In the scene, Giuliani is seen touching Bakalova’s back before they enter the hotel bedroom after an interview, and he lies down on the bed, before appearing to put his hands down his trousers.
At this point, Baron Cohen’s Borat bursts into the room telling Giuliani: ‘She’s 15, she’s too old for you.’
Giuliani, 76, called the scene a ‘complete fabrication’ and claimed he was tucking his shirt in after taking off recording equipment, but the scene resulted in headlines about the attorney before Borat 2 was even released.
However, Bakalova doesn’t feel bad about the coverage, saying: ‘I saw everything that you saw. If you saw the movie, that’s our message. We want everybody to see the movie and judge for themselves.
‘Movies like this are showing people’s true colours. It’s going to show Rudy’s real character. You’re responsible for your own decisions. So, no, I don’t feel bad.’
Bakalova made her film debut in 2017 in Xlla, and starred in the Italian Sky Atlantic series Gomorrah the same year.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
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