In these conditions, it was also necessary to co-opt some actors from Romania in the distribution. However, one of those targeted, Ninel Petrache – Nini, had a traumatic casting experience. Here is his story:
Roma and racism in the film industry
On Wednesday, I was called by the casting agency Castel Film to play a Roma character in a new film “Borat” which is to be filmed in Romania in the immediate future. In the first phase, I hesitated to accept because I imagined that in this film the Roma will be stereotyped again. But then I was told that I like the whole production team and that they want me to play the role of the main character’s son – Borat.
As I did not work too hard during the pandemic, I finally rejoiced and accepted. I want to mention that I did not see the first part of the movie “Borat” and I was not aware of the whole history of racism and misogyny of actor and producer Sacha Baron Cohen, who plays the character Borat.
I didn’t receive a script, I was just told that I had a reply, I didn’t get to sign a contract but I was called to come to the costume test. I try, everything is ok and I find out that we have to wait for this “actor” Borat who plays and produces and who knows me only from the pictures that the agency delivered to him. I and the figuration stayed in the sun for hours let’s wait for him and his staff.
Nobody knew when they were coming, we just had to wait for them. From 9 o’clock in the morning until 1 o’clock and something, I waited. When they appeared, the Romanians in the production began to shout desperately: “Get up !, as if Jesus was coming. WE GET UP. I get up. I did not understand this Romanian servility but I obeyed. I felt like I was at stake.
Borat kept going to each one and saying what suited him, what didn’t suit him and that’s how it came to me. And he says: that I am too assorted, too well dressed, even though I was given some ragged clothes as a suit. And then he said that my skin was too dark and he moved his hand closer to mine to see the big difference between his skin color and mine.
He plays the role of a Roma, although he is not a Roma and I who had to play the role of his son and I really am a Roma, it seems that my skin is too dark to play this role. I felt humiliated. It was rough. I’ve never experienced anything like this before.
Yes, ROMI actors are only wanted in stereotypical movies! We live in a world where if you are white you think you have the right to humiliate the other just because he has dark skin. I am a professional actor and I do not deserve to go through this mockery and lack of professionalism, that is why I ask those from the casting agency Castel Fim and from this individual “Borat” to apologize publicly.
Although I am Roma, I want them to know that I have a lot of dignity and that I will not accept this vile behavior towards my identity. The film industry is deeply racist and I have chosen to make this event public because there is an urgent need for a change in the way we are represented and in the discriminatory treatment that Roma actors receive.
The reaction of the production company Castel Film
Representatives of the film production company invoked by Ninel Petrache offered a right of reply on allegations of racism and explained why the actor was not cast in the new film “Borat”.
“Mr. Petrache was indeed inside our studio on July 26 for the costume rehearsal and the in-person meeting of the artistic creators of the project. Mr. Petrache had previously been selected on the basis of the photos and the role would be taken following the meeting with the director and partners in the film. Unfortunately, following the meeting in person, the conclusion was that Mr Petrache was not suitable for the role for which he had been selected. He was to play the role of a relative of one of the characters in the film, and the physical resemblance required for this role was not obvious enough. Therefore, another Romanian actor was chosen for this role “, the representatives of the Castel Film company transmitted.
Cinema and Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha Baron Cohen made her film debut with the Da Ali G Show series, which received six Emmy nominations and won two BAFTA awards in its fourth year. Baron Cohen is the screenwriter, actor and executive producer of the series.
Baron Cohen’s next project was “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” a film he produced, wrote and starred in.
Baron Cohen was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy and an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
El a mai jucat în „Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby“, „Alice Through the Looking Glass“, „Les Misérables“, „Bruno“, „Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street“, „The Dictator“, precum şi „Hugo and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues“.