After years of dormancy, Mandrake the Magician has found new life with director Etan Cohen and actor Sacha Baron Cohen. The original newspaper comic strip focused on the title character’s adventures – while he balanced his job as an everyday stage magician with his extracurricular crime fighting. Mandrake is regarded as one of the first comic book superheroes, debuting in 1934 as a creation by Lee Falk, who would go on to write The Phantom in 1936.
The project has been in development since 2005 and has already undergone rumored rewrites by Puss in Boots’ Tom Wheeler, reports Variety. Now, Etan Cohen — perhaps best-known for his work on as Tropic Thunder and Get Hard — will direct what is likely a more comedic competitor to Marvel’s otherworldly Doctor Strange. Sacha Baron Cohen most recently starred in Alice: Through the Looking Glass.
At the moment, the project is being produced by Atlas Entertainment and hasn’t claimed an official writer. Much like Doctor Strange – whose first live action debut came in the form of a 1978 television movie, featuring Archer’s Jessica Walter, Mandrake – was also a serialized TV series; first as a 12-part adventure from Columbia Pictures in 1939, and again as a TV pilot in 1954.
No other details or an official release date have been announced.