Yeah, I know Sacha Baron Cohen‘s part in Sweeney Todd was rather small, but it was kick ass nonetheless. Even with how much I thought Talladega Nights was god awful Cohen continued to make me laugh. However, it seems he may be ready to take a much larger leap as a new rumor out of The Times Online has him playing a part in Steven Spielberg‘s The Trial of the Chicago Seven, a film that has hardly been mentioned with Spielberg currently in the middle of Indiana Jones 4 and expected to follow that up with his Lincoln biopic with Liam Neeson expected to play our sixteenth president.
In Chicago Seven Cohen would apparently be playing Abbie Hoffman, a figure from the 1960s counterculture who used a series of pranks to campaign against the war. The film itself follows protesters who disrupted the 1968 Democrat party convention with an anti-Vietnam-war â€œcarnivalâ€ 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 burgeoning counterculture.
Hoffman went on to become an irascible celebrity who, later diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, killed himself with pills in 1989.
I say this is a rumor primarily because it seems odd Spielberg would be worrying about casting this film with everything he has on his plate at the moment. Perhaps he was moved by something Cohen did in Sweeney Todd and just had to snatch him up. Weirder things have happened.