On Wednesday, we reported that Sacha Baron Cohen and Curb Your Enthusiasm writers Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer and David Mandel were pitching an untitled comedy to studios. Today, Deadline reports that Paramount has paid big bucks for the project. The reason it’s such a big deal for Cohen is that he’s getting “$20 million against 20% first-dollar gross,” which could yield $30M-$50M-$80M. Additionally, Cohen will get approval over all the elements and the only way the film doesn’t get made is if Cohen doesn’t approve of the script (which he’ll co-write with Berg, Schaeffer, and Mandel). However, the project is budgeted at $65 million so it doesn’t have a huge price tag. Deadline says the untitled comedy will be Cohen’s next film but doesn’t make clear if that means he’ll make it before he does Martin Scorsese’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret (provided he’s still attached to it).
So what’s this film about? Story details are being kept under wraps, but Deadline says that Cohen will play two characters: a goat herder and a deposed foreign dictator who gets lost in the United States. The film is said to be in the vein of Coming to America and Trading Place. That sounds better than the one long gay joke that was Bruno.