The most laugh-out-loud comedy of the year is arguably Borat Subsequent Moviefilm or put more simply Borat 2.
The shocking follow-up to the 2006 movie about a fictional Kazakh television journalist took on relevant American issues. Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Borat 2 showcased the state of the nation by orchestrating real situations between average Joes and major public figures, such as Rudy Giuliani and Vice President Mike Pence, who was featured during an actual CPAC event. But let’s push politics aside and talk about that Tom Hanks cameo.
At the end of Borat 2, there’s a hilarious scene that has Borat taking a photo with Tom Hanks in Australia and coughing all over him to poke fun at the Forrest Gump actor becoming the first major celebrity to announce testing positive for COVID-19. The actor originally contracted it back in March while shooting the Elvis Presley movie in Australia. The scene was perfect, and Borat 2 director Jason Woliner recently told Insider how the cameo was landed:
[Laughs.] Once we came up with the idea that Borat would be COVID patient zero, someone had the joke that we see him stop in Sydney and he coughs on Tom Hanks. Sacha knows him and just sent him an email and we just crossed our fingers that he would be up for it. He said, ‘Sure.’ That was a scene we wanted to be very clear that was scripted and we weren’t actually ambushing the most beloved man in America. And actually, I’m in that scene. I’m the guy trying to get the selfie and Borat interrupts.
Most would agree that Tom Hanks fit into that ending montage perfectly, and the fact that Woliner and Sacha Baron Cohen were able to land him is great. Although most of it was shot in real locations with people who were not in on the joke, Borat 2 does make it clear that the film is really actually joking about Borat being patient zero for the coronavirus. The sequence could not have been thought up when the movie first started filming back in fall 2019, though, and Woliner explained how and why COVID altered Borat 2:
It changed in the biggest way when COVID came into the picture. We had to decide, do we stop or push on? But that thought didn’t last long because we wanted this out before the election. And also, my big thing was if we do a movie about 2020 and not have the pandemic, it would be like setting a movie in the fall of 2001 and not mentioning 9/11.
From the very beginning, Borat 2 was set to be released before the 2020 presidential election as a way to paint a picture of how the U.S. has been under the current administration and “make a meaningful impact,” according to Jason Woliner. When COVID-19 became a reality, the production had to make a decision, and they felt like they had to lean into the pandemic somehow. As a result, Borat 2 has really become a stark picture of this year as a whole, Tom Hanks and all And again, that’s really him.
Borat 2 had the second biggest digital premiere of the year, with Disney+ film Hamilton not throwing away its shot at No. 1. The movie also has audiences raving over Maria Bakalov, the hilarious actress who played Borat’s daughter and elevated the movie’s bits right with Sacha Baron Cohen. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is available to stream on Amazon Prime.