Baron Cohen stars as Borat Sagdiyev , a fictitious Kazakh journalist who travels through the United States to make a documentary which features real-life interactions with Americans. Much of the film features unscripted vignettes of Borat interviewing and interacting with real-life Americans who believe he is a foreigner with little or no understanding of American customs. Controversy surrounded the film from two years prior to its release, and after the film's release, some cast members spoke against, and even sued its creators. It was banned in almost all Arab countries, and the governments of Russia and Kazakhstan discouraged cinemas from showing it.
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The outrageous antics of Sacha Baron Cohen's Kazakh journalist have attracted a lawsuit from two fraternity boys featured in the film, as well as legal threats from a Turkish man. Studio Twentieth Century Fox has dismissed the merits of a case filed this week by two college students from a South Carolina university, who allege that they were duped into appearing in a "humiliating" skit in the film. The students claim the film's producers found them in their frat house and loosened them up with alcohol before getting them to sign an agreement to take part in a documentary-style film that would only air in Europe. They claim that footage of a prolonged drinking scene with Borat in which they make misogynistic and racist comments are defamatory. They seek an injunction to stop the studio from displaying their image and likeness, along with unspecified monetary damages. Meanwhile a year-old Turkish man has come forward claiming to be the inspiration behind Borat. Mahir Cagri, who shot to fame on the internet in with a website showing unwittingly comical photos of himself sunbathing, says Cohen stole his idea and is considering legal action, adding that he feared people would mistake him for the Kazakh character. Commentary on Cagri's website includes the uncannily Borat-esque line: "I like to take photo-camera animals, towns, nice nude models and peoples. Meanwhile, filmgoers in Russia may have to wait a while before getting the opportunity to decide for themselves what to make of the controversial personality. The local distributor has decided to pull the Nov 30 release after authorities advised that the film contained ethnic and religiously offensive material.
The devilish pranks of "Borat" have made him the powder-blue polyester breakout hit of the season. But how many of Sacha Baron Cohen's gags are real, and which ones are staged? Which of Borat's victims were legitimately goofed, and which ones just played along for giggles? With few exceptions, the real folks featured in "Borat," the movie, have been happy to talk about their experience, and outing them has turned into a mini-media craze, with tons of news outlets trying to sniff out the stories behind the making of the film. To save you time and satisfy your curiosity, we tracked down some of Borat's victims on our own and also compiled a guide revealing which figures were in on the joke Pamela -- say it ain't so! But even after our sleuthing, some mysteries remain -- like where the heck did that naked wrestling match take place? No one seems to know. If you have a clue -- or any great additional information -- please send it to us. This is a work in progress, so be sure to check back in. We think you'll find it very niiice.