One of the nice things about being Steven Spielberg – a list that surely numbers into the millions – is that the concept of "dream casting" does not exist. If The Beard wants an actor for a particular role, he’ll simply make the call, and, unless the performer in question has a vested interest in committing career suicide, the deal will be done.
Such was surely the case with Sacha Baron Cohen accepting the role of Abbie Hoffman for The Trial of the Chicago Seven, which Spielberg will direct at some point from a script by Aaron Sorkin. It goes without saying that the puckish Cohen is ideal casting as Hoffman, the counterculture prankster who was at the center of the tumultuous 1968 Democratic Convention protests. Hoffman possessed a flamboyant personality, a flair for the often inappropriately dramatic, and long, curly black hair on account of being Jewish. Obviously, Cohen embodies all of these attributes. What could possibly go wrong?
It’ll be interesting to see what Sorkin does with the material, which, given the title, is expected to focus on the wild trial of what was initially the Chicago 8 (Bobby Seale was ultimately tried separately, but not before getting bound-and-gagged!). The 7 were a raucous, witty lot; in fact, the trial transcript itself was entertaining enough to get turned into an HBO movie back in the 80s. Hopefully, Sorkin doesn’t go overboard in the application of his overtly urbane style; there’s not much need for embellishment here.
Lincoln is, as far as I know, still set to be Spielberg’s next film, so I guess it’ll be between The Trial of the Chicago Seven and Interstellar for the follow-up. As a Kip Thorne fan, I’m rooting for the latter.