Sacha Baron Cohen first broke onto the scene with the eternally meme-able 2006 mockumentary Borat. Now, nearly 15 years later, he's back with Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (available on Amazon now). And much like with Borat, the comedian once again relies on relatively unknown actors to help bring his film to life. Nowhere is that more evident in the actor playing Borat's daughter, whose identity seems to be shrouded in complete mystery. Here's what we know of her so far.
In the film, Borat is tasked with returning to America, only he feels he has to do so while in disguise, as he's too well-known now. He's also not returning alone, as he explains in the trailer Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Instead he's bringing his daughter, Sandra Jessica Parker Sagdiyev, to offer her as a "gift to someone close to the throne." (We later learn that this person is none other than Mike Pence.)
Officially, the press release for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm lists Irina Novak as the actress playing Sandra Jessica Parker Sagdiyev, Borat's daughter. The film's IMDb page echoes the press release as well. Simple enough, no? Well, not really. There are more than a few reasons to doubt the listing, especially given Baron Cohen's propensity for using any opportunity to make a joke — like when he registered the script for the Borat sequel under a completely different title with the Screen Writers' Guild. (The title he officially gave them was Borat: Gift of Pornographic Monkey to Vice Premiere Mikhael Pence to Make Benefit Recently Diminished Nation of Kazakhstan, per The Film Stage.)
Where there is mystery, there's intrigue. Fan sites started speculating that Novak is actually Bulgarian actor Maria Bakalova, citing a side-by-side comparison between Bakalova and Novak, as she appears in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. And earlier this week, Vanity Fair confirmed that Bakalova is the true actor behind Borat's daughter.
The actor is a relatively new face on the scene here in the United States, as Bakalova's IMDb page lists mostly international credits such as Gomorrah, an Italian television drama — as well as an "uncredited" role in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. And other details on Bakalova remain scarce. But if her tour de force performance in Borat 2 is any indication, we'll be seeing a lot more of her in years to come.