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Sacha Baron Cohen tagged to play classic comic-strip hero

Sacha Baron Cohen isn’t exactly having a great time of it in Hollywood lately, with two consecutive under-performing projects in The Brothers Grimsby and Alice Through the Looking Glass, but that hasn’t stopped him from nailing down another project he’ll headline.

The Borat actor will reportedly star in Mandrake the Magician, a film based on the classic comic strip of the same name created by Lee Falk (the creator of The Phantom).

Related: Sacha Baron Cohen is the brother of the world’s greatest spy in the red-band trailer for The Brothers Grimsby

As reported by The Tracking Board, the film will be directed by Get Hard filmmaker Etan Cohen, with the most recent drafts of the film’s script penned by Twelve Monkeys writers David Peoples and Janet Peoples, along with Puss In Boots writer Tom Wheeler.

First appearing in newspapers in 1934, Mandrake the Magician is a hypnotist and illusionist who travels the world and fights crime with the assistance of the African prince Lothar, one of the world’s strongest men. Widely regarded as one of the first comic-strip superheroes, Mandrake was a staple of newspaper comic pages right up until 2013, when it ended its run.

Mandrake’s adventures were previously adapted for the screen in 1939’s Mandrake, The Magician, starring starring Warren Hull as the title character. There was also a 1954 television movie featuring Coe Norton as Mandrake.

The report on the upcoming film indicates that Mandrake and his adventures will be updated for the 21st century, and involve the U.S. government recruiting Mandrake for a secret mission. The project has been in development for quite a while now, with The Tudors actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers previously attached to the lead role.

There’s no timeline on when Mandrake the Magician will go into production.