Actor Sacha Baron Cohen reportedly donated $100,000 to the church of the unemployed Christian grandmother who unwittingly starred in his recent “Borat” sequel.
Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Oklahoma City received the sizable donation earlier this week, the church’s Rev. Derrick Scobey said, according to The Oklahoman. Jeanise Jones, 62, was chosen by the producers of “Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm” to play a babysitter after they came to the church seeking “elderly black women” who had “grandmotherly” qualities.
Jones received only $3,600 for her role in the film, which she had been led to believe was a foreign documentary instead of a mockumentary comedy. The film, which premiered October 23 on Amazon Prime, follows Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen) as he attempts to sell off his 15-year-old daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova) to an older man. Jones is hired to babysit Tutar, who is introduced to her wearing a ball-and-chain and using a dog’s water bowl.
Jones, a mother of three and grandmother of six, received kudos from audiences for unintentionally becoming the “moral compass” of the film by showing kindness to Tutar, who she believed was in distress and for whom her church prayed regularly, according to an interview with Showbiz 411.
“I totally believed she was 15 and that he had left her there with me,” Jones said regarding Bakalova’s character. “She told me she was being groomed to be Donald Trump’s mistress if she didn’t find another rich husband. She had to find a rich husband to save her father. I believed her, she was good.”
Jones racked up more than $160,000 herself as of Saturday, after Scobey started a GoFundMe for her after the film’s release earlier this week. “It is amazing. I would never expect nothing like this,” she said of the windfall. “It’s blowing my mind.” The film’s producers and Cohen himself called her earlier this week, she said, a phone call she described as “enlightening.”
Scobey wrote in part on Jones’ GoFundMe:
She was recruited from our church the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Oklahoma City after Producers spoke to me about needing a “Black Grandmother” for a small role in a “documentary.” Jeanise emerged as that person and she was completely unaware that this was a comedy, and all of this was made up. We have been praying for the young lady in the movie because we all genuinely thought she was in trouble. The joke is on us/Jeanise and that’s no problem. Many of you have reached from around the world to say thank you, so I thought it would be great to give people a vehicle to say thank you in a tangible way, She wasn’t paid much money at all for her role in this movie.
This was not scripted for Jeanise. It all came from the heart. She is one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met. One good thing that has come from this is that Jeanise doesn’t have to worry about “Tutar” anymore. She has WORRIED about this young lady for a year.
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