In 2019, Disney acquired Fox for a reported $71.3 billion in one of the biggest and most talked about deals in Hollywood history. The move was controversial for a number of reasons, not least the fact that Disney soon announced that it was axing a large number of existing Fox movies in development after the studio posted a $170 million operating loss in Disney's fiscal third quarter. Sacha Baron Cohen and his movie Cochran & LaFarge were one of the casualties of this decision.
The movie was described to be an 'epic story of the greatest mimes the world has ever known'. This was a project, it would have seemed, Baron Cohen, best known for his Borat character, was built for considering he studied under renowned French clown Philippe Gaulier.
After the success of of Baron Cohen's Borat Subsequent Moviefilm that was released last year, one can not help but feel that the movie may have been another hit with audiences and critics alike. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm received three nominations at the 78th Golden Globe Awards, with Baron Cohen winning for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Although, the movie itself was not without its fair share of controversy. One scene in which American attorney and politician Rudy Guiliani seemingly puts his hand into his trousers in front of actress Maria Bakalova, who is impersonating an underage journalist, caused particular contention.
The cancellation of Cochran & LaFarge would have also come as quite a blow to fellow comedic actor Ken Marino who was slated to make his directorial feature film debut with the project. Although it's not all bad news for the actor, known for his roles in Wet Hot American Summer and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as he has continued to appear in hit shows like Comedy Central's The Other Two and Fresh Off The Boat. Other scrapped projects as a result of the Disney-Fox acquisition include Gambit, the solo movie based on one of Marvel's most popular X-Men, and Foster a fantasy adventure musical from the now defunct Blue Sky Studios, which was set to be directed by Karen Disher, who is known for her work on the cult animated series Daria.
Although we never say never in Hollywood, its unlikely that any of these movies will ever see the light of day. That's not to say though that this will be the end of Sacha Baron Cohen. The actor and comedian, who started making a name for himself for his outrageous character portrayed in Da Ali G Show,has managed to solidify himself as quite the Hollywood staple. Aside from exercising his comedy chops in hits like Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) and Brüno (2009), he has also tried his hand at some more dramatic roles including his highly lauded role of Abbie Hoffman in last year's Oscar darling The Trial of the Chicago 7.
If all goes to plan, Baron Cohen's next role will be in Mandrake the Magician, a film based on the illusionist from Lee Falk's comic strip, although no release details have been announced yet. This story originated at Looper.