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Steve Granitz/WireImage Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat
Sacha Baron Cohen is officially leaving Borat Sagdiyev in the past.
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight alongside his Chicago 7 costars Eddie Redmayne and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, the 49-year-old actor and comedian said that he will not be continuing on with his character for another film in the Borat franchise.
"It got two dangerous," Baron Cohen said of filming the first two movies. "There were a couple of times I had to put on a bulletproof vest to go and shoot a scene, and you don't want to do that too many times in your life. I was pretty lucky to get out this time, so no, I'm not doing it again. I'm going to stay with the scripted stuff."
Baron Cohen starred in 2006's Borat as the fictional Kazakhstani journalist who travels throughout the U.S. to make a documentary. The film features real-life interactions with Americans. He reprised the character for the 2020 sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, which also features Maria Bakalova as his daughter Tutar.
Elaborating on his decision to end the films, Baron Cohen admitted that he gets little to no sleep ahead of shooting scenes that put his life in harm's way, like when he attended a far-right rally in the sequel.
"The night before something like that — that rally — you're trying to go through everything that can go wrong," he explained to ET. "In a normal scene like what we're doing, we're trying to make sure, 'How do I make sure my performance is real? Have I done my research? How do I make sure the accent's perfect?' In this one you're going, 'Okay, if a bunch of guys with guns come from that side of the stage, have I got a way to get out? What happens if someone shoots me? What if a bunch of people start shooting me?' "
Vincent Sandoval/Getty Sacha Baron Cohen
Baron Cohen said that along with being strapped with a bulletproof vest for the rally scene, production also created "an amplifier that was basically bomb proof" for the actor to hide behind if necessary.
He told ET, "Yeah, I don't want to do it again. I got away with it. I'm not pushing my luck again."
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Courtesy of Amazon Studios Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
"I felt democracy was in peril, I felt people's lives were in peril and I felt compelled to finish the movie," he told outlet. (In 2007, the actor said he'd be retiring the Borat character but then reprised the character briefly before the 2016 election to warn Americans about voting for Trump.)
He also elaborated on the film's decision to cover the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "Rather than run away from how the world was dealing with coronavirus, I felt we should lean into it," Baron Cohen said. "Borat is a fake character, played by me, in a real world. … If we got people to take their masks off, it would be a fake character in a fake world, in a manipulated world, so the basis of the comedy wouldn't work."
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is streaming now on Amazon Prime.