Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who created the bumbling Kazakhstan reporter Borat as well as the interviewer Ali G, said his indiscreet personas have become so famous he can longer trick people while in character. So he is "killing" them off.
A London newspaper reported that it was the popularity of his creations that has led to their demise. "The problem with success, although it's fantastic, is that every new person who sees the Borat movie is one less person I 'get' with Borat again, so it's a kind of self-defeating form, really," Baron Cohen told the Daily Telegraph.
"It is like saying goodbye to a loved one," he said.
Sacha Baron Cohen earned a Golden Globe last year for his performance, and an Academy Award nomination as co-writer, for "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," a mockumentary in which a bumbling journalist explores the peculiarities of the United States while demonstrating a few peculiarities of his own.
Ali G was featured in an eponymous talk show that played in the United States on HBO.
"When I was being Ali G and Borat, I was in character sometimes 14 hours a day and I came to love them, so admitting I am never going to play them again is quite a sad thing," he told the paper.
Since "Borat" was released, the controversy of its hit-and-run interviews and fly-on-the-wall scenes featuring unsuspecting people, famous or not, led to several lawsuits and condemnation from the government of Kazakhstan. Some claim they were "tricked" into appearing in the film, where Borat trashes a store, engages in sexist conversations with fraternity brothers, and hands a dinner party guest a bag supposedly containing his own feces.
There was even a collective $38 million lawsuit filed by villagers in Glod, Romania, who claim scenes filmed there depict residents as rapists, abortionists, thieves, prostitutes and fools.
"Some of the letters I get are quite unusual," he told the paper, "like the one where the lawyer informed me I'm about to be sued for $100,000 and at the end says, "P.S. Loved the movie. Can you sign a poster for my son Jeremy?'"
Baron Cohen currently appears in the film adaptation of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," as Signor Adolfo Pirelli, another charlatan.