Sacha Baron Cohen to Star in Mandrake the Magician Movie

Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat

Actor Sacha Baron Cohen has never been known for his political correctness. With movies like Borat, Bruno, The Dictator, and the more recent Brothers Grimsby (a box-office bomb that raked in a mere $5.9 million during its run), the British comedian has managed to forge his entire career on an outrageous, often shocking brand of R-rated humor that leaves many audience members scratching their chins in puzzlement, wondering if this was the time he had finally taken things too far.

Then again, Cohen has occasionally ventured into family-friendly territory, with his performances in such movies as Hugo and, most recently, Alice Through the Looking Glass. He's also now reportedly onboard to star in Warner Bros. Pictures'  upcoming Mandrake the Magician, a film based on Lee Falk’s syndicated 1934 newspaper comic strip.

According to The Tracking Board, the film will focus on the adventures of Mandrake, an illusionist and escape artist who has been described as “America’s first superhero” for his ability to hypnotize foes (a villainous grouping that has included mad scientists, gangsters, intergalactic aliens, and his evil twin brother). Mandrake also has the ability to do what all magicians only pretend to be able to do, such as turn invisible, shapeshift, levitate, and teleport—all thanks to an enchanted hat, clock, and wand that his father passed down to him. The plan for this adaption, however, is to update the character for the 21st century, with the U.S. government recruiting Mandrake for a top secret mission.

Mandrake the Magician to star Sacha Baron Cohen
Image courtesy of Hermes Press

At the helm of the project is director Etan Cohen, whose credits writing credits include Idiocracy, Tropic Thunder, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and Men in Black 3. Cohen also helmed the Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard and recently snagged the director’s chair for WB's developing remake of the 1981 comedy, Cannonball Run. Also on the Mandrake production team are David and Janet Peoples and Tom Wheeler (Puss in Boots), who penned the most recent drafts of the script. Charles Roven and Andy Horowitz will produce the film through Atlas Entertainment, and Alan Glazer and Rocky Shepard will serve as executive producers.

With SBC and Etan Cohen on board, it looks like Mandrake has finally (as if by magic) regained momentum. The project has been in the works for several years and has passed through the hands of several studios, including (at one time) Disney. Hyde Park and Baldwin Entertainment were last reported to be developing the story, with Josh Richmond on board to write the script and Jonathan Rhys Meyers rumored to star.

The film marks the first adaption of the titular illusionist since the 1954 television movie, starring Coe Norton, and the first big-screen adaption since Columbia Pictures’ 1939 Mandrake, The Magician, starring Warren Hull. There's no word yet on a release date.

Screen Rant will bring you more news on Mandrake the Magician as it becomes available.

Source: The Tracking Board

"Mandrake the Magician" Cover Art via Hermes Press

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