Maria Bakalova to Produce and Star in Her First Bulgarian Movie Post-‘Borat’

"Triumph" is an alien military satire that's also based on a true story from 1990s Bulgarian history.
Maria Bakalova
Maria Bakalova
Getty Images for Elton John AIDS

Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova is returning to Bulgaria for a dark comedy based on wildly true events.

The “Borat 2” and “Bodies Bodies Bodies” actress is set to star in and produce “Triumph,” inspired by the aftermath of the fall of Communism in the 1990s when Bulgarian army officials teamed up with psychics to find a rumored alien artifact to change the course of history and restore Bulgaria’s honor. Deadline first reported the news.

Bakalova and Julian Kostov (“Shadow and Bone”) will produce “Triumph” through their company Five Oceans. “Triumph” is their first production through Five Oceans, which aims to showcase Bulgarian, Balkan, and Slavic stories on an international scale.

Academy Award-nominated directors Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov (2019’s “The Father”) will helm the feature and collaborate with Bakalova once more. “Triumph” is part of the trilogy by Grozeva and Valchanov that also includes 2014’s “The Lesson” and 2016’s “Glory.”

Julian Vergov and “The Father” alum Margita Gosheva are additionally set to star in the film, co-written and executive produced by Decho Taralezhkov (“Glory”). The movie is a co-production between Abraxas Film and long-time partners from Greek production company Graal Films. It is funded by the Bulgarian National Film Center, the Greek Film Centre, Eurimages, MEDIA, Bulgarian National Television and ERT. Production is currently underway in Bulgaria.

In addition to “Triumph,” Bakalova is set to voice Cosmo the Spacedog in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” as well as lead comedy “The Honeymoon,” which she also produced. Bakalova additionally stars in Sofia Coppola’s “Fairyland” and Netflix’s “Unfrosted” along with Jerry Seinfeld.

Bakalova previously told IndieWire that she hopes to break the casting stereotypes for Eastern European actors. “I hadn’t spent that much time thinking about bigger movies,” Bakalova said following her “Borat 2” breakout. “Most of the parts we are given are like two lines as a prostitute, a hooker, or maybe a Russian mafia person who’s not even Bulgarian. I thought I should not dream of such things.”

She later revealed to IndieWire, “I will definitely keep my accent forever because that’s my authenticity. I’ll try as much as possible to get this American accent that’s so dreamed about. But at the end of the day, I think it’s important to keep my accent. Huge respect to production companies pushing for this diversity.”

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