Sacha Baron Cohen’s character Borat had a knack for producing hilarious reactions from strangers thanks to his outrageous behavior, but Cohen likely didn’t expect the reaction he received from the FBI.
While appearing on WTF with Marc Maron, Cohen went into the history of making both Borat and Bruno, including the surprising amount of legal trouble he ran into in particular with that first film.
Cohen recalled filming Borat and riding around in the character’s vehicle of choice, an ice cream truck, with Borat’s producer Azamat (Ken Davitian).
“[The FBI] got so many complaints there was a terrorist traveling in an ice cream van,” Cohen explained. “So the FBI got so many complaints that they started compiling a little file on us and eventually they came to visit us at the hotel. I obviously went missing when I heard because they were like ‘FBI’s downstairs. Sacha, disappear.’”
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But that wasn’t the only time Cohen had run-ins with the law while making his films. He recounted a number of other incidents, which often resulted in him, his crew, and even his wife, Isla Fisher, having to flee whatever state they’re in. The actor didn’t always make it away unscathed, however.
“We hire a guy and his job is, he’s a bit like [The Brothers Grimsby’s] Nobby, actually… his job is to prevent me from being arrested,” he explained after saying Kansas police had already warned the Bruno movie crew that he would be arrested should anything happen. Of course, during filming, the cops were called, and this bodyguard directed Cohen to jump out a window to avoid them, causing him to break his heel and temporarily shut down production on the film.
Listen to the full episode to hear more from Cohen about the many legal issues he’s faced during his many films, including even former Prime Minister Tony Blair having to call the actor because of how Borat strained England’s ties with Kazakhstan. Cohen can next be seen in The Brothers Grimsby, which hits theaters on March 11.