A primer on British actor/comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's technique for duping his victims in 'Borat.'
The Veteran Feminists of America were among Borat's victims
When a gangly foreign reporter with broken English, bushy moustache and crumpled suit turned up at artist Linda Stein's New York studio, she thought she was helping spread the word about women's rights.
Ms Stein, with two other members of Veteran Feminists of America, agreed to be filmed for what they thought was a documentary to help third world women.
But then the reporter started talking about his wife's farm work (“she pulls the plough”), women walking three steps behind men (“it used to be 10 steps, my country is advancing”) and asking how to contact Pamela Anderson.
“I thought I was talking to an uneducated man, maybe from a tribal community,” Ms Stein says. “I mean, that's how it seemed to me.
“In our earnestness, we were trying to help women around the world.”
Shocking and provocative
Ms Stein is not alone in being duped by Baron Cohen.
The British comedian has perfected his act as the apparently naive reporter whose enthusiastic offensiveness either leaves his interviewees in shock or persuades them to reveal a little too much of their own prejudices.
And the result is set to be one of the year's most popular films.
I'm a New Yorker, all sorts of things happen in New York – I'm not angryLinda Stein
Most of Borat's victims were ensnared in a similar way. They would be contacted by a woman calling herself Chelsea Barnard from a fictional film company, One America Productions.
They would be told about the foreign correspondent making a film about life in the US, with the pitch tailored to each person's specialist subject.
Then on the day of the interview, they would be presented with a release form at the last minute, be paid in cash and, finally, Borat would amble in, beginning with some serious subjects before starting his provocative routine.