^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
4

Not Such Happy Times

I was at the Adolphus Hotel this morning and ran into "Vanilla Face," which is probably not how the hotel's director of public relations, David Davis, wants to be referred to. In fact, I can guarantee it: When I asked Davis if he'd mind doing an interview for Unfair Park concerning his brief appearance in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Davis kinda shrugged it off and said, in short: Not so much. Then he talked about it anyway.

Davis, who's as soft-spoken and as helpful and as nice a guy you'd ever want to meet, says he's "mortified" by his appearance in the film, which opens Friday, and in the trailer, where he shows up about a minute and 45 seconds into the thing. In August, I suggested that Davis was in on the gag, since there was a camera in the lobby to capture Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) entering the joint with his pants hanging off his ass. Davis says he actually had no idea what to expect: Echoing other unsuspecting victims who appear in the movie against their wishes and, in retrospect, better judgment, Davis says he was told during the summer of 2005 that the filming was for "a travel documentary," and in fact he showed the film crew around the Adolphus so they could shoot some of the artwork before the host arrived.

That's why Davis, who's normally not behind the desk, is seen working the registration counter in the film; he thought he would be greeting the normal ol' host of this travelogue, which, according to the convoluted consent forms recently provided by Slate, is described as "a documentary-style film" intended "to reach a young adult audience by using entertaining content and formats." Hey, it's not a lie.

When Borat enters in the film, he not only refers to Davis as "Vanilla Face" but begins using racial epithets, which he, ya know, picked up from some helpful guys loitering around what appears to be Lincoln High School in South Dallas during a scene immediately preceding the one at the hotel. Borat's just trying to be, ya know, one of the brothers--and that didn't sit well with Davis, who was standing next to an African-American woman working the check-in counter at the hotel when Borat walked in and started talkin' about needing a place for his homies to crash and so forth.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

He hasn't seen the movie yet and didn't say if he will. He was just happy when some friends who saw the movie in London told him the Adolphus sign wasn't prominently displayed in the movie. Nonetheless, he says he's "mortified." Coulda been worse: Davis could have ended up holding Borat's bag of doo-doo during a dinner party. Hey, shit happens. --Robert Wilonsky

Bonus Video: Trailer for Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (again)

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.