Why Borat 2’s Babysitter Was Important To The Movie, According To Sacha Baron Cohen

Jeanise Jones in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Just like in the first Borat movie, last year’s Borat Subsequent Moviefilm saw Sacha Baron Cohen reprising his Kazakh journalist character for all sorts of shenanigans. Unlike the movie released in 2006, Cohen had a partner-in-tomfoolery for the sequel, with Maria Bakalova playing Borat’s daughter, Tutar. One of the main people Bakalova interacted with as Tutar was Jeanise Jones, the woman hired to be her babysitter, and according to Cohen, her presence was necessary for the Borat 2 narrative to move along properly.

Jeanise Jones was just one of the many unsuspecting individuals who didn’t know that Borat and Tutar were characters, but in an interview with SAG-AFTA Foundation, Sacha Baron Cohen explained that Jones filled an integral role in Tutar’s character development. As Cohen put it:

When we were writing the movie, we felt there had to be a fairy godmother character, and she was the fairy godmother. She didn’t realize she was playing that role. Again, nobody who’s real is given any sense of what they have to do or any lines. But she is there to transform and break down Tutar’s mental universe of this ingrained misogyny and sense of hierarchy in our version of Kazakhstan. And Jeanise was amazing, she’s so warm and kind-hearted. She’s the moral compass of the movie, and she truly cared about Tutar. She wanted to help her, and she was unaware that she was changing the course of the movie… I’m just so happy that the world has fallen in love with her.

For those who haven’t watched Borat Subsequent Moviefilm on Amazon Prime Video, or simply need a refresher, the sequel saw Jeanise Jones looking after Tutar while Borat is working at a barbershop. Under the impression that Tutar was a soon-to-be underage bride, Jones informed the girl that what she’d learned about women from her culture was wrong, i.e. she didn’t need plastic surgery get married and she was welcome to use her brain. As a result, Tutar eventually rebelled against Borat, resulting in the father/daughter duo’s temporary separation.

Obviously for Sacha Baron Cohen and Maria Bakalova, Jeanise Jones’ words of wisdom were helpful in pushing the Borat Subsequent Moviefilm story forward. Jones, on the other hand, was legitimately concerned for Tutar’s well being after their time together concluded, so much so that she asked the other congregants at her church to pray for Tutar. It was only after Borat Subsequent Moviefilm was released on Prime Video that Jones realized that Tutar was an actress, and she felt “betrayed” by the whole affair.

Fortunately for Jeanise Jones, her life has improved following Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’s release. Because Jones wasn’t paid much for the movie and has faced employment difficulties due to the pandemic, a GoFundMe page was set up for her by her church’s pastor. Plenty of people have donated to the effort, and as of this writing, over $184,000 has been raised for Jones. Sacha Baron Cohen also donated over $100,000 to her Oklahoma City community.

Last Thanksgiving, Maria Bakalova reached out to Jeanise Jones, finally speaking with the woman as herself rather than Tutar. Bakalova described Jones as a “true angel” and will always think of her as her “godmother, a real hero and life coach.” In a movie filled with plenty of people who weren’t “good,” Jones shined as a moral beacon, which is exactly the kind of person that was necessary for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm to unfold the way Sacha Baron Cohen wanted.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is available to watch on Prime Video, and be sure to read CinemaBlend’s review of the movie. Keep track of the movies set to hit theaters later this year with our 2021 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.