« Greenberg and Gannett May Bid for Tribune Co. | Main | Gibson and Mad Max 4: Fury Road »

Borat Pranksters Deceived Their Prey

Borathat Making a movie like Borat—which depends on shocking and surprising real people into giving unguarded reactions—is necessarily messy. I've heard that after the Borat filming there was much legal cleanup to do, with fees exchanged. UPDATE: Here's Harvey Levin's take on TMZ. And more from Netscape Movies.

Now I can see why. Andrew Tobias posts what one unwitting participant in Borat went through. In short, an executive at the venerable Adolphus Hotel in Dallas was deceived by the Borat filmmakers into signing a release on the basis that he was participating in a travelogue which swiftly turned out not to be the case. "Vanilla Face" still regrets the way he was treated:

I’m in “Borat” [he wrote], much to my embarrassment. Borat tried to check into The Adolphus, and I had security throw him out. He was making racial slurs, spouting profanity, and generally making a spectacle of himself. They “cast” me in the role of the sophisticated hotelier. The location scouts lied to me; they told me they were filming a piece on The Adolphus’s art collection, history, and so on.

[Tobias responds] I had a million questions. “What did you say? Did they get you to sign a release? How? Did they give you lines to say? Did they all burst out laughing after they filmed it and let you in on the joke? Have you seen it? Are you famous now?”

1. I don't believe I said anything; I was dumbstruck. It obviously shows in my face that I was appalled by what he said to me.

2. They lie about what they are going to film and have one sign a release on that basis. They refused – after the fact – to give me a copy of the release that I signed. (I have an e-mail from them describing the nature of the filming, and it is a pack of lies, to be blunt.) I've signed countless releases over the years and never suspected that this one was any different, given the e-mail I was sent. I can forward it to you, if you want to see it. (They choose location scouts who appear completely trustworthy. It took me a long time to get over this trust issue, believe me.)

3. It was unscripted. They are looking for a completely natural reaction (at least, in my case it was!).

4. They never let me in on the gag; the director maintained that he was just as surprised by what happened as I was.

5. I’ve never seen it, and I would be too embarrassed to watch it. Friends have told me that I fare far better than the rest of the victims in the film.

6. Oh, I'm famous all right. People stare at me on the DART light rail and wonder where they've seen me. (I've been in movie trailers all summer long.) Friends all over the country - and abroad! – have e-mailed and called me. Of course, the reaction is: OH MY GOSH, I KNOW THAT GUY! THAT'S DAVID DAVIS FROM THE ADOLPHUS! WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HE DOING IN THIS FILM? Friends in Hollywood have said, "When did you start acting?" I was recently introduced to Michael Sheen (he plays Tony Blair in THE QUEEN) as a fellow thespian. His face lit up as though I were truly a legitimate actor. I could've have crawled under the carpet and died.

My face has been as red as a tomato almost constantly since the trailers started - and now it's worse with the movie hitting 2,500 screens. Somebody shoot me!

Dave, the reluctant movie star


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Borat Pranksters Deceived Their Prey:

» Practical Jokes and Feelings from Cinerati
Anne Thompson over at the Risky Biz blog has a post about one of the "stars" of Borat. In this case, the guy isn't suing, but he still feels shafted. Don't just read the excerpt at Biz, read the full link as well. [Read More]

» Borat Movie Trailer from Borat Movie Trailer
the movie apparently tribute to the film; Theatrical [Read More]


Got something to say? There’s three exciting options:

  1. Comment instantly and anonymously below. Just enter a real (or fake, we don’t mind) name and email address below and hit "Post Comment." Email addresses remain private. OR--
  2. Check "Register with DISQUS." Same as #1, but you can create a profile, add a photo, vote on comments and more. OR--
  3. Use Facebook. Click the "F Connect" button to quickly post this article on your Wall.
blog comments powered by Disqus
The Hollywood Reporter

About Risky Business

  • Risky Biz blog takes a deep, daily look at the film industry's ups, downs and deals from around the world and the heart of Hollywood. It is edited by media and entertainment journalist Steven Zeitchik, with contributions from The Hollywood Reporter's worldwide team of film editors and reporters. Zeitchik is a Los Angeles-based writer for THR and also has written for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

    Subscribe to feed