Who Maria Bakalova is, Borat 2's breakout star

Ian Sandwell
·4-min read
Photo credit: Amazon Prime Video
Photo credit: Amazon Prime Video

From Digital Spy

Maria Bakalova has come out of nowhere to become the star everyone's talking about after her breakout role in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

The hit comedy sequel, which arrived on Amazon Prime Video on October 23, sees Sacha Baron Cohen reprise his role as Borat on another trip to the US. However, this time, Borat is joined by his daughter Tutar (Bakalova), as he aims to give her to vice president Mike Pence to redeem Kazakhstan.

We knew Baron Cohen could handle the awkward – and often terrifying – situations he found himself in as Borat for the sequel. Bakalova proves to be his equal and is responsible for the sequel's biggest moments, including that Rudy Giuliani scene.

She's so good in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm that Baron Cohen is campaigning for her to get Oscar recognition. So where did Bakalova come from and what's she been in before her breakout Borat role?

Photo credit: Amazon Prime Video
Photo credit: Amazon Prime Video

Who is Maria Bakalova?

Born in Bulgaria, the 24-year-old Bakalova has starred in Bulgarian movies like Transgression, Last Call and The Father. The latter movie played film festivals, including London Film Festival, but none of them have received major UK releases otherwise.

Bakalova was cast in the role of Tutar when she was 22 after an open casting call for the part, with the audition seeing her play the role of Tutar to a group of unsuspecting people to prove she could do the role.

View this post on Instagram

#iminlove knjhbbbxhahwwwwksll 😍❤️

A post shared by Maria Bakalova (@mariabakalovaofficial) on Aug 16, 2020 at 7:10am PDT

Incredibly, filming the sequel was the first time that Bakalova had come to the US.

"She's hilarious and has the capacity to deliver a scene and make you cry. That's what finally got her the part. When we did the breakup scene in the movie, I had to stop it because I felt myself getting quite emotional," Baron Cohen told Good Morning America.

"She's one of a kind. Imagine coming to America for the first time and you're playing a role with real people in some terrifying situations. She got through it all. She's a revelation."

Baron Cohen added that if Bakalova isn't in the Oscar conversation next year, it would be a "travesty".

While it might seem like a long shot, she is seriously good in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and if there's any year where a comedy star might get an Oscar nomination, it's in this strange year for movies.

It might not even be the last time we see Bakalova as Tutar, as in the Good Morning America interview, Baron Cohen hinted that she's been playing the character since the movie finished filming, including a scene where she visited the White House.

The sequel sees Tutar leave Borat for a while and become a journalist writing for right-wing websites in the US, so there could well be unseen material out there still to be released.

"You really are like a father to me! Thank you for everything – your support and guidance. You are my biggest teacher!" Bakalova enthused of Baron Cohen in an Instagram post after the release of the movie.

"I am so so grateful for the opportunity to create such an brilliant character like Tutar with you.

"There are almost no leading characters for actors from my background or actors who have a foreign accent so to be given this platform to perform and show what I can do really means the world to me! Thank you! I love you!!"

Whether we see Tutar again or not, what is for sure is that we haven't seen the last of Maria Bakalova as Sacha Baron Cohen has discovered a real talent.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is available to watch now on Amazon Prime Video.

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