In 2020, Sacha Baron Cohen returned as the iconic trickster-provocateur Borat in the 2006 sequel, Borat II. The film has already received recognition from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, winning the Golden Globe for Best Comedy Film, and Sasha himself was awarded the award for Best Actor in a Comedy. The actor is undoubtedly the star of Borat 2, but the real heroine of the film is Maria Bakalova, who played the daughter of a Kazakh journalist, Tutar. We reveal what is known about the actress and Oscar nominee with such a seemingly familiar name
Maria Bakalova is from Bulgaria
The 24-year-old actress grew up on the Black Sea coast, in the Bulgarian city of Burgas. Her career began with music: she played the flute and took vocal lessons until she realized that she wanted more, then she took up acting. She tried to visualize future success by painting the Hollywood Sign on her desk and writing down dreams of moving to Los Angeles in her diary. But, having matured, Maria became disillusioned with her aspirations: “I told myself that these are just childhood dreams. Hollywood stars are not born in Eastern Europe, ”she shared in an interview with Deadline. Then Maria decided to focus on European cinema, in which a successful career seemed more attainable, and began to study the work of leading directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Emir Kusturica and Andrei Zvyagintsev.
Prior to Borat II, she did not film in the United States.
For the first time on the screen, Maria appeared when she was 19 years old. Then she starred in the web comedy series Typically. The actress got her first leading role in 2018 in the Bulgarian drama "Transgression", after which she became popular in her homeland. But, according to her, the most valuable role in her career (before the casting of Borat 2) was the film Father, which is popular in Bulgaria, directed by Christina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov. The film has received a number of national and international awards, including the Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. And it was in "Father" that Bakalova was noticed by the casting director of "Borat 2" Nancy Bishop.
In Sasha Baron Cohen's film, she first participated in a prank
The culmination of Borat II was the episode in which Maria Bakalova took a real-life interview with Donald Trump's adviser and former mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani. The politician did not know that he was being filmed, and accepted the offer of Borat's young daughter, who introduced herself as a journalist, to continue communication in private in a hotel room. The actress offered him a massage, after which Giuliani lay down on the bed and was ready to undress when Sasha Baron Cohen, dressed in lingerie, burst into the room and shouted: “She is 15 years old! She's too old for you! " This was the first time in Maria's career that she was forced to interact with non-actors and participate in pranks. “I was a very disciplined child and I read a lot. At the age of 15-16, I was obsessed with Dostoevsky. When the first Borat movie came out [in 2006], I was 10, so I didn't even watch it until I got the part. But even if I did, I would definitely not understand it, ”she shared in an interview with The New York Times.
The actress is partial to political life
Having accepted the offer to star in "Borat 2", the native of Bulgaria, of course, could not know all the intricacies of the US political games, although she was familiar with the name of Rudolf Giuliani thanks to his high-profile role in the events after the tragedy of September 11, 2001. But Maria was actively involved in political actions in her native country. In the summer of 2020, she publicly expressed solidarity with the Bulgarians protesting against corruption. “I was very glad to see how happy the Americans are after the announcement of the election results,” Bakalova later shared in an interview with The New York Times. - Because in my country for many years people have no right to vote. Now I finally saw what a real election is, with people across the country celebrating, crying, dancing and singing. It was probably one of the most beautiful things that I have seen in my life. "
For the role of Tutar Bakalova received nominations for "Golden Globe" and "Oscar"
Soon after the premiere of Borat 2, all famous film critics started talking about Maria Bakalova. The Imagine Games Network called the actress a "fantastic find," and the Los Angeles Times called her acting "amazing." She received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress, becoming the first Bulgarian actress to be noticed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Michelle Pfeiffer, Kate Hudson, Anya Taylor-Joy and Rosamund Pike were also represented in this category, who took away the coveted statuette. Nevertheless, recently it became known that Maria was nominated for an Oscar. Prior to that, only one actress from Eastern Europe was honored with this honor - the Polish actress Ida Kaminska in 1966. In anticipation of the main film award, Bakalova has already received the Critics Choice Awards, Awarded by the Film Critics Association of the United States Broadcasters. “This does not happen with Bulgarians. In most cases, we get small minor roles - mafia or prostitute - with a couple of lines of text. I am very grateful to Sasha for entrusting me, a native of an Eastern European country, with the role of a strong and complex character, ”the actress shared in an interview with The New York Times. Bakalova's success has already brought her a contract with the famous Creative Artists Agency, which also works with Zendaya, Rege Jean-Page, Florence Pugh, Ana de Armas and Anya Taylor-Joy. the role of a strong and complex character, "the actress shared in an interview with The New York Times. Bakalova's success has already brought her a contract with the famous Creative Artists Agency, which also works with Zendaya, Rege Jean-Page, Florence Pugh, Ana de Armas and Anya Taylor-Joy. the role of a strong and complex character, ”the actress shared in an interview with The New York Times. Bakalova's success has already brought her a contract with the famous Creative Artists Agency, which also works with Zendaya, Rege Jean-Page, Florence Pugh, Ana de Armas and Anya Taylor-Joy.