Sacha Baron Cohen Explores A Whole New Territory: Fiction

Fans of the original “Da Ali G Show” know that Sacha Baron Cohen had three distinct man-on-the-street characters for all his interviews and comedy stunts: Ali G, Borat, and Bruno.

All three of those characters got the feature film treatment (Borat’s being the best of the bunch), each movie essentially representing the final bow for each character. By the time “Bruno” came out, Cohen had become so famous that only the most base idiot would fall for his disguises. But just because Cohen has abandoned high-end gonzo comedies doesn’t mean he hasn’t been dreaming up new characters in his spare time. Because he has, and now he’ll get $20 million to headline his first fully dramatized American feature comedy. Nikki Finke explains.

Sacha Baron Cohen plays dual roles: both a goat herder and a deposed foreign dictator who gets lost in the United States. Cohen wants to keep the storyline close to the vest, but we're told it's in the spirit of Coming To America meets Trading Places. It will be his next film. Not only is Cohen starring, but he's also writing the film with the three Curb Your Enthusiasm scribes -- writers Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer, and David Mandel -- and all four are producing.

Cohen worked with another “Curb” veteran, director Larry Charles, on both “Borat” and “Bruno.” It’s an exciting project because Cohen really hasn’t done a movie like this before (we’ll politely ignore the existence of “Ali G Indahouse,” which was fully fictional but also kinda terrible). It’s the first time he’ll be crafting a big-time film without the help of ignorant rednecks and a talking penis. But those gonzo movies were more carefully scripted than most regular studio comedies. They written to get a very precise response from whatever hapless target Cohen chose.

Given the two legendary comedies cited in the report, it’s hard not to hope that Cohen will somehow pull it all off. He’ll certainly be paid handsomely for the attempt.

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