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Sacha Baron Cohen has a brand new bag of tricks.
The comedian, who earlier this year starred in the flop The Brothers Grimsby, is attached to star and produce Mandrake the Magician, an adaptation of the classic comic strip set up at Warner Bros.
Etan Cohen, the Tropic Thunder writer who made his directorial debut with Get Hard, is attached to helm the project, which would be produced by Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment.
The project is in early development with the script still to be written.
Created as a newspaper comic strip by Lee Falk in 1934, Mandrake told of the adventures of an illusionist who had the power to hypnotize his foes at great speed. With his companion Lothar, an African strongman, he fought evildoers ranging from gangsters to masters of disguise to aliens. Mandrake also had a twin brother who used his power for evil instead of good.
Warners picked up the rights to the character in 2012, hoping to do what Disney as well as Baldwin Entertainment and Hyde Park tried and failed to do for years earlier — develop it as a movie. (Mandrake was the subject of a 12-part serial from Columbia Pictures in 1939, and a TV movie aired in the 1970s.)
Baldwin and Hyde Park’s version, developed in the late 2000s, had directors Chuck Russell and Mimi Leder and actors Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Hayden Christensen attached.
Cohen is already set to write and direct a reboot of Cannonball Run for Warners and will develop this concurrently.
Baron Cohen currently co-stars in Alice Through the Looking Glass. Grimsby was one of the year’s first flops, opening to only $3.2 million when it was released March 11.
Baron Cohen is repped by CAA and Ziffren Brittenham; Cohen is with CAA, Mosaic and Lichter Grossman.
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