Maria Bakalova interview: ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’
“Tutar taught me how to pursue my dreams,” admits Maria Bakalova about her breakthrough role as Borat’s sheltered and devoted daughter Tutar. The actress co-stars in the hilarious “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” Oscar nominee Sacha Baron Cohen‘s follow-up to his 2006 smash hit mockumentary “Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”
“I was always like ‘is this ever going to happen, I’m coming from nowhere. Should I follow my dreams? Should I be that ambitious? Is it possible?'” she reveals. Watch our exclusive video interview with Bakalova above.
In “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” Bakalova plays Tutar Sagdiyev, Borat’s 15-year-old daughter who accompanies her father on his latest stateside mission to offer her up to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. In a series of uproarious scenes mostly filmed in secret, Borat and Tutar uncover, often brutally, the hideous underbelly of a America plagued by division, disinformation, prejudice and bigotry. They eventually return to the motherland as acclaimed Kazakh journalists after run-ins with right-wing media, the Conservative Political Action Conference and most notoriously, President Donald J. Trump‘s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
This is Bakalova’s first comedic foray, as the young Bulgarian actress has to date worked in theater and on screen in primarily dramatic roles. “You have no idea how much I appreciate what you’re saying right now,” she admits when told that critics have praised her genuinely funny scene-stealing performance. “My background is really dramatic parts. Like, teenage pregnancy, a teenager with disability, mental illness,” she explains. Bakalova also talks at length about some of her highlights from the film, including the mortifying cotillion ball, the cringe-worthy pro-life clinic, her encounter with Giuliani and her heartbreaking scenes with babysitter Jeanise Jones, who Bakalova reveals she has recently reconnected with.
Offers are pouring in for the fledgling actress, now that she is riding high after the commercial and critical success of the film, even being touted as a potential contender this awards season. For all of that success, Bakalova credits her leading man and creator Baron Cohen, whose singular vision and meticulous planning provided the foundation for them to deliver a film that was not only funny, but also had something interesting to say about American culture. “Sacha and the team made me feel really safe, in every kind of way,” she says.