Just when you thought it was safe to help that pleasant but vaguely lost-looking tourist asking about your strange American customs … he’s back. Well, not back quite yet. But Borat, the most famous pseudo-Kazakhstani in the world, may indeed one day return to movie screens, its producer told MTV News exclusively.
“Borat” debuted November 3 and, in its opening weekend, scooped up a jaw-dropping $26.4 million on only 837 screens (a fraction of a typical wide release) (see ” ’Borat’ Is Box-Office Blockbuster — High Five!” ). And ever since that happened, you can bet that 20th Century Fox, the studio behind the surprise hit, has been salivating for more. Now, according to “Borat” producer Jay Roach, there is hope. “We’ve talked a lot about [a sequel]. We have talked about ideas to try different stuff,” he said cryptically.
What those ideas are, Roach and the hard-to-crack “Borat” creator, Sacha Baron Cohen, are keeping to themselves. But it also seems likely that the creators simply have not yet devised a natural progression for the character. The key stumbling block for Borat, if he were to continue wreaking havoc on the big screen, is how does he maintain his anonymity? It would seem the game is over if people recognize Borat from a mile away.
Clearly it was much easier for the mustachioed Kazakhstani to catch innocent bystanders unaware when he wasn’t the star of the #1 movie in America. Roach admitted it’s a tall order from here on out for the once low-profile character but claimed there might be a plan up the filmmakers’ sleeves. “It’s definitely more difficult now, and I don’t know if it’s even possible to go out into the world, but we have ideas. We’re sneaky, clever people,” he laughed.
One aspect of a further Borat adventure is certain: it would once again take the lead character on a journey and not through a “Jackass”-like series of disconnected sketches. Roach said, “It would still be with as much of a long-form story and structure as we can come up with. It would be a story-based thing that has a whole three-act structure.”
But where can another Borat story take him? Whether he would explore different parts of America (“Borat in Vegas,” anyone?) or foreign territories remains unclear. And wouldn’t Americans recognize the character this time around, after he’s become so seemingly ubiquitous? “There are always insulated worlds where Borat can go either on this continent or others,” Roach said.
Baron Cohen’s opportunities are not limited to further “Borat” films. Immediately prior to his film’s staggering opening, Universal Pictures made a very public play for the future endeavors of the actor, inking a $42.5 million deal to release a film about Brüno, another character made famous on HBO’s “Da Ali G Show.” Brüno, like Borat, is an improvised character by the British actor, one whose inappropriate comments and behavior bring out the worst in the company he keeps. A flamboyant fashion reporter from Austria, Brüno clearly will push buttons as Borat has, albeit in a different crowd.
Roach, who will also be the producer of the Brüno movie, told MTV, “The thing I like about Brüno is the world he travels in. It’s the world of fashion and pop culture and it has all the various characters of that world — from outrageous diva fashion designers to Paris Hiltons.” It is a far cry from the rodeo shows and frat boys Borat visited with, but Roach believed there will once again be ample opportunity for mockery. “The party scene and the life in that fashion fast lane sounds like a really great world for us to go into.”
Still unknown is whether “Borat” director Larry Charles would return for a potential spinoff. Roach insists talk of a director is premature and admitted he would consider the opportunity himself.
But before any new films are put in the can, the next place you will likely see Baron Cohen is in the comfort of your own home — on the “Borat” DVD. And if producer Roach is to be believed, it could be as jam-packed as any “Lord of the Rings” special edition.
Roach revealed that tons of material was left on the cutting-room floor before the flick hit the theaters. “There was a five-hour cut that I laughed all the way through,” he said. Shooting down reports that the material may find its way to HBO, Roach said, “There’s no current plan other than to include some of it on the DVD.”
So what have audiences been denied thanks to the brutal editing process? Roach cited a favorite montage of his that had Borat running out of money and looking for work, as well as a scene of him going through an immigration-orientation class alongside actual immigrants. “They were just trying to figure out their own way through the American culture and then they have this guy confusing them, and the American teacher is trying to point out that what he’s saying is not correct. It’s great,” Roach enthused.
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