Wednesday, December 05, 2007

BBC News
Borat's driving instructor sues
Michael Psenicska with Sacha Baron Cohen
Mr Psenicska said his encounter with Borat (right) had been 'surreal'
A US driving instructor who appeared in the Borat movie has taken legal action against its makers, claiming he thought he was taking part in a documentary.

Baltimore resident Michael Psenicska is seeking more than $100,000 (£48,860) in damages from actor Sacha Baron Cohen, 20th Century Fox and other parties.

Distributor Fox said Mr Psenicska had been paid for his involvement and had given his consent to be filmed.

The action is one of several that have been brought against the 2006 comedy.

Several unwitting cast members, among them two college fraternity members and residents of a Romanian village, have sought redress for how they were depicted.

Mr Psenicska, a high school mathematics teacher who also owns a driving school, was reportedly paid $500 (£245) in cash to give Cohen's bogus Kazakh journalist a driving lesson.

Financial success

The film shows Mr Psenicska struggling to control his pupil who drives erratically, drinks alcohol and yells at a pedestrian.

In his action, filed in the US District Court in Manhattan, the driving instructor said he had been told the film was a "documentary about the integration of foreign people into the American way of life".

Had he known the film's true nature, he said, he would have never participated.

Mr Psenicska said he was entitled to damages because the defendants used images of him to advertise the film.

A Fox spokesman, however, said the action had been prompted by the film's financial success.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan has made more than $260m (£127m) worldwide, before DVD sales.

Sacha Baron Cohen will shortly be seen alongside Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's movie musical Sweeney Todd.