Sacha Baron Cohen will play the lead role in a Mandrake the Magician film for Warner Bros., The Tracking Board reports. The film will additionally be directed by Etan Cohen, who directed Get Hard but is better known for his screenwriting, including that film, Tropic Thunder, Idiocracy, and several episodes of television. The current script was drafted by David and Janet Peoples and Tom Wheeler, though it stands to reason that Cohen will be doing some revisions. Frequent WB producer Charles Roven and Andy Horowitz will produce.
Mandrake the Magician was created as a syndicated comic strip in 1934 by Lee Falk. The magician was a master of escape, illusion, and hypnotism, and frequently fought evil using his magic, including his brother. The character's comicbook rights are currently with Dynamite Entertainment, where he's been published in both crossover and solo series in the last few years. His adventures have previously been chronicled by Moonstone, Marvel Comics, and King Comics, as well as the original Dell Comics. The character is said to be an inspiration for many other magician characters in comics, including DC Comics character Zatara.
This is the first Mandrake the Magician adaptation in several decades, but far from the first ever. He's been on radio, in serials, and in a TV movie in 1979 starring Anthony Herrerra. No production or release schedule was announced in the scoop. At least, thanks to Hugo and Sweeney Todd, we know Baron Cohen can rock the thin mustache.