During a new SAG Conversation interview, the ‘Borat’ star admits he doesn’t want to put himself in a situation where people’s anger and hostility pose a real threat to him and his film crew once again.
Sep 24, 2019
AceShowbiz – Sacha Baron Cohen abandoned plans to shoot another season of controversial TV series “Who Is America?” after realising how close he came to losing his life as he tried to convince Arizona locals to buy into a mosque project.
The acclaimed show featured the British funnyman donning a series of disguises and trying to expose the hypocrisy of American citizens, politicians and celebrities during bogus TV interviews.
The “Borat” star had no problems poking fun at politicians and people like O.J. Simpson, but he really felt his life was at risk during a segment in which he faced off with Kingman residents over a ‘Mega Mosque’ project.
As he attempted to reason with the irate locals, Sacha realised their anger and hostility posed a real threat to himself and his film crew.
“We had some major issues,” he explains during a new SAG Conversation interview. “The security guard we hired said, ‘I don’t want you to worry about today, because if somebody pulls out a gun, and they go to shoot then I’ve prepared this’ – and he gave me a bulletproof clipboard, which basically only covered one body part at a time.”
“I tried to completely immerse myself in character but everyone had guns. The first group we asked them to leave their guns on the coach. But the second group had their cars parked outside and we knew a lot of them had guns in the car. We were scared they would go outside and bring their guns back.”
“What we were concerned about was there would be an inverse mass shooting where you would have 47 shooters and one victim – me. I told the crew they could opt out because it could turn into the O.K. Corral. But luckily it was fine and I’m here… but that’s why I don’t want to do it again!”
In general, Cohen had fun shooting the series and enjoyed baiting politicians like Sarah Palin and Roy Moore in character as Billy Wayne Ruddick, Dr. Nira Cain-N’Degeocello, Rick Sherman, and Col. Erran Morad, but his greatest regret is not exposing O.J. Simpson as a murderer.
The retired sportsman and former actor was acquitted of the murders of his wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman in the mid-1990s, but Cohen thought it would be interesting to try to get him to confess, so he posed as bogus Italian billionaire Gio Monaldo and agreed to meet O.J. in a Las Vegas hotel suite.
“We lured him with the promise of a meeting with an Arab sheikh, who will give you this deal that will be worth a lot of money. I was the representative of this sheikh, who said to OJ, ‘He wants to be in a room with this hooker and hear how you murdered the two of them (Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson)’.”
“He (Simpson) said, ‘I have no problem being in the room while he’s having sex, but I didn’t actually murder anyone’. To convince him, I ended up training with one of the main FBI interrogators who break down criminals and get them to confess. So within the interview, which was pretty nerve-wracking, I asked him 45 times whether he had murdered anyone. I failed unfortunately.”