In the now-infamous scene, Bakalova’s character, Tutar — Borat’s 15-year-old daughter who’s posing as a journalist — invites 76-year-old Giuliani up to a hotel room to have a drink after their interview. After she tries to take his microphone off, he appears to put his hand down his pants while lying on a bed, which is when Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) intervenes. Giuliani later said on Twitter that he was tucking in his shirt after taking his recording equipment off, vehemently denying he was ever “inappropriate.”
In a new interview with The New York Times, 24-year-old Bakalova discusses the scene, and says she was nervous before filming it. However, she trusted Cohen completely.
“We’d been talking a lot about different scenarios,” she said of preparing for her interaction with Giuliani. “How should I act, this way or this way? What should I do? What is smarter? But in all of the scenarios, 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.”
Bakalova says Cohen came “just in time” in the hotel room.
“Sacha jumped into the room quickly, because he’s been worried about me,” she says. “So, if he were late, I don’t know how things were going to go. But he came just in time.”
“Sacha, he’s my nonbiological father and he will be like that forever,” she also says. “So I trusted him from the beginning and I knew he would never put me in a dangerous situation. At the same time, we had a security team that was able to save us in a moment. 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.”
Bakalova was cryptic when asked if she thought Giuliani was doing something illicit or just tucking in his shirt.
“I saw everything that you saw,” she comments. “If you saw the movie, that’s our message. We want everybody to see the movie and judge for themselves.”
Last month, Cohen appeared on Good Morning America and said he was “quite concerned” for Bakalova during the scene.
“We built a hideaway that I was hiding in during the entire scene,” he shared. “So I was monitoring it by text. It’s my responsibility as a producer as well to ensure that the lead actor is looked after.”
As for whether or not the scene itself was inappropriate, Cohen urged viewers to decide for themselves.
“I would say that if the president’s lawyer found what he did there appropriate behavior, then Heaven knows what he’s done with other female journalists in hotel rooms,” he said. “I just urge everyone to watch the movie — it is what it is, he did what he did — and make your own mind up. It was pretty clear to us.”
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