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BORAT

Production
Following a grand send-off from his Kazakh village, Borat made the long journey to the US and A to begin work on the documentary. He was accompanied by his obese and ineffectual producer, Azamat Bagatov. Comments Azamat: "I got involved in this project because I am very experienced in industry of film and television – in fact during last 20 years I have personally watched 27 programs. I also got job because I am only producer in Kazakhstan.”

Borat traveled to the U.S. in style—Azamat, not so much. "We fly Kazakh Airways,” Borat recalls. "Azamat go in hold, with luggage, animals and Jews – I travel first classes – which meant that when toilet box was passed around, I was the sixth person to make my ‘dirty' in it.”

No expense was spared to bring the film to the big-screen. "This documentary was most expensive film ever made for Kazakhstan,” says the intrepid reporter. "It cost 48 million tenge – this equivalent to 5000 US dollar. Ministry of Information supplement budget by selling uranium to some brown men.”

Larry Charles, a creative force on the landmark series "Entourage,” "Curb Your Enthusiasm” and "Seinfeld,” joined the project as director. Like Jay Roach, Charles was a fan of Baron Cohen's work. "There is an intensity and incredible intelligence to Sacha's performances, as well as a certain bravery,” says Charles.

Charles marveled at Baron Cohen's ability to stay in character throughout production, even during on-location filmmaker conferences. "Sacha as Borat was always real, believable, complex and spontaneous. I've never seen a performance like that. "Our collaboration was multi-leveled,” Charles continues. "During our creative meetings, I was talking to both Sacha and to Borat, which was disconcerting sometimes, but fun. I understood why Sacha did this: He has to be in the moment, and yet still be somewhat detached and self-aware. He managed to strike a delicate balance.”

Executive producer Monica Levinson says the production was true guerilla-style filmmaking. "All we had was an eight-person crew, including Sacha, a sound person, camera people, Larry Charles, and a production assistant. We all traveled around in a van, followed by a pickup truck that carried the equipment.”

Borat began his cross country odyssey in ‘New Yorks,' where he experiences for the first time a subway car, an elevator, and a feminist group. Then, a revelation turned his plans upside-down. "Although we had initial planned to stay in New Yorks, because of a reason I cannot say, we needed to get to California.”

Unable (or forbidden) to fly, Borat had to learn how to drive. "We too have cars in Kazakhstan,” he notes. "They now very modern –some of them reach top speeds of up to 120 miles per week! Also, they better than western cars, because when engine get old you can eat it. I was interest to see if America cars were as fancypants.

"I was very nervous about sitting alone in a car with my drive instructor,” Borat continues. "In my country only time two men ride together in car, is when they journey to the edge of town to make bang bang in anoos.”

To capture on film the character's cross-country adventure – much of it done via an ice-cream truck – the BORAT filmmakers also traveled to Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Virginia, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, California, Oklahoma, Alabama, South Carolina – and Romania.

At many locations, the production's guerilla-style, hit-and-run filmmaking attracted the interest of various law enforcement officials.

In New York, for example, a warrant was issued for Baron Cohen's arrest. He also narrowly escaped incarceration while filming a segment at a local hotel. (Earlier, Baron Cohen had been advised to leave the state.)

Monica Levinson and unit production manager/first assistant director Dale Stern didn'

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