Maria Bakalova was relieved she ‘escaped’ Rudy Giuliani, but says she was ‘confident’ all along that her co-star Sacha Baron Cohen would ‘save’ her.
Maria Bakalova, 24, is opening up about the controversial scenes she shared with former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, 76, in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm — admitting that was one time she felt like she felt she could be in “physical danger” when shooting. “Maybe the scene when we were at the hotel and Rudy Giuliani called the police, I was kind of scared that something would happen. But fortunately, we escaped,” she confessed in a new interview with the New York Times, published on Nov. 11.
The scene occurred after Maria — who was playing Borat’s fictional 15-year-old daughter Tutar — posed as a journalist to land an interview with Giuliani. Following the interview, the pair ended up in a hotel room when Rudy was caught on camera leaning back on a bed with his hand down his pants. Just at that moment, Sacha Baron Cohen — in character as Borat — barged into the room wearing pink lingerie. It’s important to note that Rudy had no reason to believe that Maria, who is 24 in real life, was underage.
“Sacha, he’s my nonbiological father and he will be like that forever. So I trusted him from the beginning and I knew he would never put me in a dangerous situation,” Maria explained, urging viewers to judge for themselves what Rudy was doing. “At the same time, we had a security team that was able to save us in a moment…I was nervous. My heart was racing. But Sacha was like, you should be nervous in this situation. So use your nerves. Convert them and accept them and they’re going to help you through everything.”
Sacha and Maria prepared for various scenarios prior to filming the controversial scenes — but the actress maintained confidence that Sacha would “save” her no matter what. “Sacha jumped into the room quickly, because he’s been worried about me. So, if he were late, I don’t know how things were going to go. But he came just in time,” she said. “I was confident that Sacha will save me and he will save the scene, so it’s not going to be a disaster. He’s my guardian angel.” The viral moment was later even spoofed by Kate McKinnon on Saturday Night Live.
Despite Rudy’s presence in American politics, Maria — who is Bulgarian — confessed she wasn’t overly familiar with who he was. “I knew who he was, because 9/11 is something everybody should know. It’s one of the hardest moments in recent history. But I’m not American, I don’t get into American politics. I don’t think I’m that informed with the situation in America and its political system,” she noted. Since the film’s release, Rudy has publicly said he was simply adjusting his pants after removing his mic.