As a former writer for Da Ali G Show, Seth Rogen may have a biased opinion on Sacha Baron Cohen, but I still trust him when he calls Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, a.k.a. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, a.k.a. Borat 2, “crazy and wonderful and couldn’t be more timely. It also has a few of the funniest scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie. I’m excited for you to see it.” In the replies, he highlighted one performance in particular: “The woman who plays his daughter is f*cking unbelievable.”
Borat’s daughter, credited as being named (as a character) Sandra Jessica Parker Sagdiyev, is the focus of the trailer that came out this month, and the comedy revolves around her dad “offering” her to Vice President Mike Pence. But despite starring in a sequel to an Oscar-nominated movie that made $262.6 million at the box office in 2006 (that’s $338.5 million with inflation), no one knows anything about the actress playing her.
First, let’s acknowledge something: it’s weird to think of Borat having sex. That means “I like you, I like sex, is nice” worked on someone (possibly Luenell?). It’s not Palpatine-level uncomfortable, but it’s not something I hope Borat Subsequent Moviefilm spends much time on, either. With that out of the way, it was originally reported that Maria Bakalova had been cast as Borat’s daughter, but considering the source was the website “Illuminerdi” and not Deadline or the Hollywood Reporter, something seemed off.
This skeptical hunch proved correct, as the Borat Subsequent Moviefilm press release confirms that the movie stars Sacha Baron Cohen, naturally, as well as Irina Nowak. Bakalova might not be a household name in America (her biggest film to date is 2018’s Bulgarian drama Transgression), but at least she has a comprehensive IMDb page — the only project listed on Nowak’s IMDb is, you guessed it, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
Very nice for daughter to say, but she not yet see Premiere McDonald Trump pic.twitter.com/nUUbbdl8zV
— Borat (@BoratSagdiyev) October 14, 2020
Nowak does not appear to have a Twitter, an Instagram, or even a Celebrity Net Worth page. In an age of being Too Online, she’s almost entirely offline. I can understood why Baron Cohen didn’t want to cast an obvious name as his on-screen daughter, though . He’s a trickster (as Slate noted, he intentionally gave the Writers Guild of America the wrong title for Borat 2, “registering his script under the name Borat: Gift of Pornographic Monkey to Vice Premiere Mikhael Pence to Make Benefit Recently Diminished Nation of Kazakhstan“), but Borat also starred relative unknowns, including Ken Davitian as producer Azamat Bagatov, to great comedic effect. To have someone like Kevin Hart as Borat’s sidekick would ruin the joke; why would a Kazakh journalist be running around the country with Adam Sandler in a silly mustache? (I take it back. That sounds good.)
Still, I wanted to know more about Nowak, and I hoped her appearance on Monday’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live with Baron Cohen, both in character as daughter (I hope you’re reading “daughter” in the “my wife” voice) and father, would provide answers.
Reader, it did not.
I actually have more questions now, because she’s repeatedly referred to as “Tutar.” But whoever that is as Borat’s daughter, she’s very funny, swinging between cupcake-eating innocence and “I have killed 17 dogs” violence with ease. I’m particularly amused by the photo of Kimmel and Jennifer Aniston that she stole off the wall. But the clip is not helpful in terms of finding out more about Nowak / Bakalova / Jason Mantzoukas in a wig.
There are three options at play here, as far as I can tell:
1. Irina Nowak is a real person.
2. “Irina Nowak” is NOT a real person; it’s a fake name used by Maria Bakalova.
3. “Irina Nowak” is someone else entirely.
We’ll find out on Friday, when Borat Subsequent Moviefilm premieres on Amazon.