From Borat to Abbie Hoffman
By Internet reports
Apparently Bruno the fashionista is on the back burner for Sacha
Baron Cohen now that he's signed to play counter-culture activist
Abbie Hoffman in Steven Spielberg's "The Trial of the Chicago Seven."
The Borat creator actually has a lot in common with Hoffman. Abbie
was known for his "guerrilla theater" tactics in which he drummed up
publicity for his causes by being funny not violent.
He knew how to use the media once he got publicity for bursting
into the headquarters of Con Edison, throwing soot in the air and on
employees clothing. He said it was more effective than signing
petitions for cleaner air. Abbie insisted that laughter is a better
learning tool than serious speeches and from what we saw of Borat -
Cohen agrees. By the way, Sacha will be taking home a $6 million
dollar paycheck. Hooray for capitalism.
Sacha Baron Cohen Cast in Spielberg's Trial of the Chicago Seven
December 30, 2007
Source: Sunday Times
by Alex Billington
Sacha Baron Cohen aka Borat, Bruno, and now Signor Pirelli, has
joined the cast of Steven Spielberg's The Trial of the Chicago Seven
as Abbie Hoffman. The UK's Sunday Times reports that Cohen was
"persuaded by Steven Spielberg to move from comedy to serious
politics by playing a hippie opponent of the Vietnam war." Abbie
Hoffman was the leader of the group of seven individuals who were
charged with conspiracy and inciting the riot at the 1968 Democratic
National Convention in Chicago. A previous independent movie, Chicago
10, was the Sundance opening night film in 2007 and was a documentary
on the riots and trial as well.
The Trial of the Chicago Seven is a new film written by Aaron Sorkin
based on the events and story surrounding the riots and trial.
Investigators blamed Hoffman and seven others who were taken to trial
and mistreated by a biased judge. Hoffman was a self-identified
Jewish Road Warrior and communo-anarchist who became a symbol of
youth rebellion and radical activism during the 1970's.
This film, supposedly to be directed by Steven Spielberg (although he
has an incredibly crowded proposed upcoming schedule), is supposed to
be closer in tone to his previous film, Munich. After personally
seeing how powerful of a documentary Chicago 10 was, I'm certain
Spielberg could really turn this into an incredible film. And after
seeing Cohen in Sweeney Todd as Signor Pirelli, I'm confident he can
pull off any character and any role with as much skill as Borat.
I'd suggest any real Americans and politically inclined individuals
read up about the Chicago Seven on Wikipedia. It was a pretty
phenomenal event in America's history and has only recently picked up
steam again since Chicago 10 debuted at Sundance.
Borat turns 'Abbie' normal
By Stone Martindale Dec 30, 2007
Borat, Bruno, Ali G and other farcical incantations of over-the-top
fictitious media darlings will be laid to rest as new father, Sacha
Baron Cohen, tries on a dramatic role that may alter his career trajectory.
Steven Spielberg has asked Cohen to portray the famous hippie
opponent of the Vietnam war, Abbie Hoffman.
The Times Online reports that "The Trial of the Chicago Seven," Sacha
Baron Cohen will be cast as Hoffman, a figure from the 1960s
counterculture who used a series of joke campaigns against the war.
Baron Cohen, 36, hit paydirt worldwide as the Kaakhstani reporter,
Borat in "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit
Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."
This was after he had reached a modicum of success in the U.S. on HBO
with his Ali G show, after he was already an established star in his
Borat has been put out to pasture. Bruno won't be far behind.
The Times Online categorized the new Spielberg project being akin to
Munich, the director's somber exploration of the morality of
political assassination, based on the 1972 terrorist attack on the
"The Trial of the Chicago Seven" premise follows protesters who
disrupted the 1968 Democrat party convention with an anti-Vietnam-war
"carnival" that turned nasty. That convention became a violent
staging for massive protests and police response that was widely
criticized by observers during the most disruptive year in American
history, it was the bloodiest year for American loss of life in
Vietnam as well.
After the clashes, Hoffman was blamed.
Hoffman went on to become an unpredictable celebrity who, later
diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, and killed himself in 1989.
Baron Cohen has much in common with Hoffman, both were denizens of
prestigious college campuses and both skilled in the art of pranks
and subversive humor.
Borat becomes Vietnam War protestor
December 30th, 2007
London, Dec 30 (ANI): British comic genius Sacha Baron Cohen is
moving from comedy to serious politics, by playing a hippie opponent
of the Vietnam war in Steven Spielbergs The Trial of the Chicago Seven.
In the movie, Baron Cohen, who recently announced that he would never
reprise his roles as Kazakh journalist Borat and rap star Ali G
again, will be playing Abbie Hoffman, a 1960s counterculture figure,
who used a series of pranks to crusade against the war.
The 36-year-old star will reportedly be paid about 3m pounds for the
film, reports Times Online.
The Trial of the Chicago Seven is based on the protesters who
disrupted the 1968 Democrat party meeting with an anti-Vietnam-war
carnival that turned vicious.
After the fights, independent investigators held eight police
officers and eight protesters including Hoffman, responsible.
Though the police were not charged but the protesters were accused of
inciting a riot.
Hoffman went on to become a petulant personality who was later
diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, and killed himself with pills in 1989.
Baron Cohen shot to fame in Britain with his Ali G persona in the
1990s, but won international applause with last years film Borat:
Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
No more jokes as Borat turns war protester
December 30, 2007
THE creator of Ali G and Borat has been persuaded by Steven Spielberg
to move from comedy to serious politics by playing a hippie opponent
of the Vietnam war.
In The Trial of the Chicago Seven, Sacha Baron Cohen will portray
Abbie Hoffman, a figure from the 1960s counterculture who used a
series of pranks to campaign against the war. Baron Cohen is expected
to be paid about £3m for the film.
Baron Cohen, 36, became famous in Britain for his Ali G persona in
the 1990s but won international acclaim with last year's film Borat:
Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of
Kazakhstan. He has now "retired" his Borat character.
The Spielberg film is said to be closer to Munich, the director's
exploration of the morality of political assassination, based on the
1972 terrorist attack on the Olympic Games, than to his next Indiana
Jones frolic, due in the summer.
The Trial of the Chicago Seven follows protesters who disrupted the
1968 Democrat party convention with an anti-Vietnam-war "carnival"
that turned nasty. Demonstrators threw bricks, police responded with
tear gas and the centre of Chicago was engulfed in flames. Curfews
only escalated the violence.
After the clashes, independent investigators blamed eight police
officers and eight protesters including Hoffman, who had already
disrupted the New York Stock Exchange with showers of fake money.
The police were not charged but the protesters were accused of
inciting a riot. One was jailed for contempt, leaving the seven to
fight the charges.
It was, said the late writer Norman Mailer, who testified for the
seven, a noisy televised clash between the old order and the
Hoffman went on to become an irascible celebrity who, later diagnosed
with a bipolar disorder, killed himself with pills in 1989.
Baron Cohen will not have to undergo a big transformation to play the
part. Hoffman, who was Jewish, attended Berkeley University in
California, while Baron Cohen, an urbane Orthodox Jew more than 6ft
tall, cut his teeth entertaining friends at Christ's College
Cambridge with subversive wit and surreal pranks.
Baron Cohen is already planning a return to the screen in the guise
of Bruno, a camp Austrian fashion show presenter with an unpleasant
line in Nazi jokes. It is reported he will receive a £7m advance and
15% of box-office receipts for the role, a record for a British comedian.
He is still fighting writs for slander and fraud from several people
lampooned in the Borat movie, including the villagers of Glod in
Romania where the opening sections of the film were shot.