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The ‘Weird’ Crossover Ron’s Gone Wrong Has With Borat, According To The Filmmakers

Ron’s Gone Wrong allows families to get to know an unlikely pair of friends in a middle-school boy named Barney and his malfunctioning robot Ron. This weekend’s animated release will certainly inspire comparisons to The Iron Giant and E.T., but one you may not expect is with Borat. Don’t worry, no cringe R-rated humor or tours across America are involved in Ron’s Gone Wrong, but behind the scenes, there was a fun crossover of sorts.

The movie was written by Sarah Smith and Peter Baynham, the latter of whom wrote the screenplay for both Borat films. When CinemaBlend spoke to the Ron’s Gone Wrong co-writers, I asked if there was anything about his famed comedy franchise he brought over to Ron’s Gone Wrong, especially since there are so many hilarious moments that bring out the that-awkward-moment humor Borat can identify with. Sarah Smith shared these words to us:  

Pete did suggest to me early on, that ‘I have this slightly romantic idea of the relationship between Barney and this broken bot.’ Pete said ‘What if it was like your cousin was like Baby Borat’.

Now that changes how we look at Ron a little bit, doesn’t it? If you’ve yet to see the film, Ron is among a long line of B-bots, which are walking and talking devices that kids have as friends to help them stay connected with others and keep them entertained. Ron was not set up properly though, so he finds himself creating chaos wherever he goes, but in a much more family-friendly way. Peter Baynham shared the fun connection the two characters had: 

It’s a clownish character. There’s this crossover [between Ron and Borat] because they are these simple, naive characters that don’t understand how their world works. The weird thing is at one point we were making this movie at the same time as we were making the last Borat movie and at one point, on one day I was on Zoom in a voice recording with Jack Dylan Grazer playing Barney and at the same time on a live YouTube link watching a scene being filmed live with Borat and it was kind of weird to be doing two wildly different films at literally the same time. You take a lot from the comedy really.

This is super wild. Peter Baynham was working on Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and Ron’s Gone Wrong at the same time, and one day, the movies collided for him, but on different screens. Clearly they are very different movies, but as Baynham shared, there are some similarities in terms of how each of them do not fit in and are constantly trying to understand the world around them. 

Co-writer/director Sarah Smith also told CinemaBlend that she came up with the idea for Ron’s Gone Wrong while she was watching Spike Jonse’s Her. As a parent raising her kids in the digital age, she wanted to tell a story about the idea of grappling with our society’s focus on social media and screens. But of course, she wanted to go about it in a fun way rather than making it a Black Mirror episode. She spoke about how the Borat writer got involved: 

I knew it was a subject that felt really important to explore, but I thought, how’s this then going to become a fun animated movie? The obvious idea was you make the iPad into a walking, talking, moving animation character and so that was really the beginning of it. But I had a slightly kind of sentimental storyline about the boy teaching the robot through imitation and then eventually love forming and when I went to Pete and said come and write this with me, because we’d worked together for years and years, and he said, but what if it’s actually an annoying idiot who can’t do the stairs, and I went, ‘Yeah that’s a better version.’

Ron’s Gone Wrong stars Zach Galifianakis as Ron and Shazam actor Jack Dylan Grazer as the boy, Barney. Also among the voice cast is Ed Helms, Olivia Colman, Rob Delaney and Justice Smith. You can learn about Galifianakis and Grazer’s experience on the film on CinemaBlend, and check out Ron’s Gone Wrong in theaters now. For more upcoming movies, refer to the 2021 new movie release schedule

Sarah El-Mahmoud

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.