Borat’s daughter, Tutar, was undeniably the breakout star of Borat 2. But she wasn’t the only person in the film who won fans’ hearts.
Jeanise Jones, 62, was unwittingly recruited for the movie as Tutar’s babysitter, and was a true scene stealer with her kind-hearted, if not slightly concerned reaction to Borat’s antics. In the movie, Jeanise takes pity on Tutar, and teaches her to stand up for herself, leading fans to praise the woman for her kindness.
Now, in a new interview, Maria Bakalova, the actor who played Tutar, has added her voice to the legion of Jeanise fans, telling the LA Times that she sees the Oklahoma grandmother as a ‘hero.’
Jeanise is a true angel. I will probably always think of her as my godmother, a real hero and life coach. She just wanted to help this girl become a strong woman. We had a real human connection from the very first day we met.
She is a really good example of how important it is to be a good person and care about others
While the real-life people featured in Borat are often there to be made fun of, Bakalova said that she felt sorry for Jeanise, who had no idea that Borat and Tutar were being played by actors, and had wanted to reassure her babysitter ‘not to worry’ while they were filming.
And it seems like the two have developed a touching relationship, with Bakalova saying she reached out to Jeanise during her first Thanksgiving in America.
Bakalova told the LA Times:
I called her on Thanksgiving: It was my first American Thanksgiving and was also my best. I was so happy to talk to her that I started to cry.
In interviews after the movie was released, Jeanise revealed that she had been told the filming was for a documentary, and that she had genuinely believed that Tutar and Borat were real people.
After she told Variety that she was only paid $3,600 for her role in the film, fans set up a fundraiser for the grandmother, raising over $140,000, including a $100,000 donation for Sacha Baron Cohen himself.
Jeanise wasn’t the only person fooled by Bakalova. The Bulgarian actor didn’t even tell her own parents what the movie was about, saying in the interview: ‘I kept telling them not to worry and this was going to be a real, legit movie. They had no idea what it was all about until they saw my face in the movie’s trailer!’
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Topics: Film and TV, Amazon Studios, Borat, Now, Sacha Baron Cohen