Why Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat 2 Director Tried To Convince Him Not To Make The Sequel

Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) in 'Borat 2'

Most fans knew before they even watched Borat 2 that they’d be in for a wild ride. After the long-awaited sequel dropped on Amazon this October, the internet was abuzz regarding its most memorable scenes -- if nothing else, that’s proof of its success. For Borat 2’s director, though, the film’s accomplishments weren’t a sure bet -- in fact, he initially tried to convince Sacha Baron Cohen not to make it.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, or Borat 2, had the second biggest digital premiere of the year. That's an impressive enough feat as is but even more so when you consider how many films had to shift to digital release this year due to COVID-19. But Jason Woliner, who directed the film, was initially hesitant to jump on board. He told Insider that he had some serious concerns about the prospects for the sequel:

I was the first person Sacha called about directing this. I went into the meeting with him and Anthony Hines, who is a writer that's been involved in everything Sasha has done, Monica Levinson the producer, and a few other people. I told him I loved the script, but I came on very strong. I basically said that Borat is the funniest movie ever made and that it's almost certainly a mistake to do a sequel. I said in almost every version of this it's a disaster: most comedy sequels aren't good, the long-delayed sequels are extremely tough, and because of the nature of the movie, Borat is one of the most popular comedy characters of the last century so you have to find people who don't know who he is.

Jason Woliner’s concerns are understandable -- there have been plenty of terrible comedy sequels. He later explained that Sacha Baron Cohen's own perspective on the film was what ultimately helped him decide to get on board:

Sacha of course was completely aware of all of it and agreed with everything I said. If I had to guess, I think he respected that I came in with eyes open that I knew what a daunting task it was. A couple of days later, I was invited to the writer's room for a week to see if I got along with Sacha and his writing team. It was the entire group of writers from the first movie and a few new ones. Two days in, I was offered the job and I never left.

While Jason Woliner’s concerns were valid, they turned out to be unfounded where Borat 2 is concerned. In addition to being a huge success with fans, critics - including CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell - praised the film for its brash, if controversial, approach to comedy.

Do you think Borat 2 broke the sequel curse? Let us know in the comments!

Katherine Webb