Sacha Baron Cohen to play Abbie Hoffman in Spielberg's Trial of the Chicago 7

Woah -- Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G, Borat) will play Abbie Hoffman in an upcoming Spielberg adaptation of the Trial of the Chicago 7. I'm a huge Hoffman fan -- his (somewhat fictionalized) autobiography is one of my favorite books -- and Cohen's the kind of merry anarchist who strikes me as the perfect and unlikely casting choice.

Hoffman went on to become an irascible celebrity who, later diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, killed himself with pills in 1989.

Baron Cohen will not have to undergo a big transformation to play the part. Hoffman, who was Jewish, attended Berkeley University in California, while Baron Cohen, an urbane Orthodox Jew more than 6ft tall, cut his teeth entertaining friends at Christ’s College Cambridge with subversive wit and surreal pranks.

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