Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen told Good Morning America on Friday that he was “quite concerned” when filming the now-infamous scene between Rudy Giuliani and the actress Maria Bakalova, who plays his daughter in new film.
In the scene, Bakalova poses as a young TV journalist for a conservative news show and interviews Giuliani. When the interview is over, Bakalova invites the president’s lawyer to her hotel bedroom for a drink, and, after Bakalova helps remove his mic, Giuliani touches her on the back and asks for her phone number and address, then lays back on the bed and puts his hands down his trousers. At that point, Baron Cohen, in character as Borat Sagdiyev, bursts into the room wearing lingerie and yells: “She’s 15! She too old for you!”
During filming of the scene, Baron Cohen explained, he was in a hideaway the crew had built beforehand, and monitoring the situation by text. “It’s my responsibility as a producer as well to ensure that the lead actor is looked after,” he said.
Bakalova, for her part, thanked Baron Cohen for intervening. “I was sure that you were going to save me from everything,” she told him.
Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing, writing on Twitter Wednesday that the video is a “complete fabrication” and that he was merely tucking in his shirt after removing his mic. “At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate,” Giuliani said.
“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,” Baron Cohen replied on GMA when asked about the tweet.