The sequel to the hit movie “Borat” was filmed stealthily over the past few months in Greenville and Spartanburg, among other locales.
The trailer for “Borat 2,” which was uploaded to YouTube on Oct. 1, showed multiple local spots, including Halloween Highway on North Pleasantburg Drive. The clip in the trailer shows Borat, played by comedian and actor Sasha Baron Cohen, walking around the store trying on costumes, while being assisted by employee Paul Holzberger.
The staff at Halloween Highway said they were unfamiliar with the Borat character and had no idea the store had been featured in the trailer until they were contacted by the Greenville Journal.
Employee Sherry Jones said Cohen and his production team had not called ahead to ask for permission to shoot inside the store, but that they simply showed up one day.
“They just walked on in and asked if they could shoot in there,” Jones said. “I had to ask my manager if it was OK, and he wanted to know the name of the movie or show they were shooting, but they wouldn’t tell him.”
The original Borat movie was a cultural phenomenon that racked up more than $260 million at the box office. In the movie, Cohen plays an exaggerated character from Kazakhstan exploring America with a documentary crew. His awkward and over-the-top interactions with unassuming Americans, similar to “Candid Camera,” made him a comedy icon of the mid-2000s.
Jones said she recalls the day when Cohen came to the store and that he was accompanied by five or six members of a film production crew.
“They gave me a paper to sign that didn’t even have a name of the movie on it,” Jones said. “I spoke with a woman named Mary, while the guy walked around with Paul trying on costumes. Paul said he was acting goofy the whole time, so we just figured the movie was about that.”
Other locations featured in the trailer include First Baptist North Spartanburg and Spartan Bakery, both in Spartanburg.
“Borat 2” will premier on Amazon Prime Oct. 23.