It’s being reported that Sacha Baron Cohen, star of Borat, The Brothers Grimsby, and Alice Through the Looking Glass, is set to star in Mandrake the Magician. The movie will be directed by Get Hard writer and director Etan Cohen, who has also written episodes of Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill, and worked on the screenplays for Idiocracy, Tropic Thunder, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and Men in Black 3.
The movie is based on the comic strip of the same name created by Lee Falk during the Great Depression, and was first published back in 1934. It follows a mustached magician who uses hypnotism and illusion powers to fight crime.
Here’s an official description of the Mandrake the Magician character:
A suave and sophisticated man of mystery, Mandrake often battles the most remarkable and inventive villains while attired in formal black-tie and tails. Equally at home at a swank society affair or among the colorful denizens of the underworld, Mandrake is world famous for his many remarkable feats. His powers do not come from any supernatural source; rather, he is the world’s foremost illusionist and hypnotist. Amazingly, despite the natural explanations for his marvels, Mandrake’s adventures often border on the miraculous. He has traced his mysteries into other dimensions and planets, tracked werewolves to their lair, and has dealt with alien races and human specters. And his adventures have also spanned the globe, taking him to the mysterious Orient, the deserts of North Africa, and even to the strange and magical land of Hollywood. This unflappable crusader has operated mostly as a lone wolf, but in recent years he has worked closely with the secret government agency, Inter-Intel. There, a cigar-chomping robot named “Chief” directs Mandrake to Ho-Jo, the head of Inter-Intel, who outlines the thrills that await. Like so many of us, Mandrake is not immune to family troubles. He has an evil twin, Derek, and a younger sister, Leonore, who have often made life difficult for him.
The movie’s story is said to update the character for the 21st century with Mandrake, who uses his abilities to solve mysteries and fight wrongdoers around the world—including his evil twin brother—along with his partner Lothar, being recruited by the government to take on a super secret mission.
This isn’t the first time Mandrake the Magician has been brought to the screen. It was made into a movie in 1939 starring Warren Hull, and other films have been in development but never made including one by Federico Fellini, who was a friend of Falk’s, in the ’60s. This latest adaptation has been in development since 2007 with Jonathan Rhys Meyers once attached to star in a version directed by Chuck Russell, and Hayden Christensen eventually replacing Rhys Meyers in a new attempt that would have co-starred Djimon Hounsou and been directed by Mimi Leder.
A TV movie that acted as a pilot episode for a potential new series was produced in 1954 starring Coe Norton in the title role, but the show never took off.
[Source: The Tracking Board]