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Can Sacha Baron Cohen Breathe Life into the Bond Spoof?

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Aug 07, 2012 | 9:24am EDT

Sacha Baron CohenAlong with being one of the most influential icons in pop culture history, James Bond is also one of the most parodied. With Skyfall on the way and no deficit of interest in Agent 007 in sight, it seems like a safe bet to churn out send-ups of the British super spy and his slew of adventures. But is it just enough already? Have we exhausted every original joke about Bond's demeanor, his sexual escapades, his assortment of gadgets? Apparently, Paramount has faith that there is still room for more humor on the subject: the studio is developing a James Bond spoof, created by actor/writer Sacha Baron Cohen and writer/producer Phil Johnston.

The Hollywood Reporter reveals the project, along with the studio's illustration of its premise: the hero will be a Bond-esque secret agent who "is forced to go on the run with his long-lost brother, a moronic soccer hooligan." No word yet on whether or not Cohen will play a part in the film, although the multihyphenate has yet to write a feature film in which he has not starred (it is worth noting that he did act as producer on Dinner for Schmucks, in which he did not appear).

Again, concerns go to the originality of the project. The territory of "secret agent parody" is well traversed. The most prominent name in this community is almost definitely Austin Powers, although his peers are plentiful. There's Johnny English, Spy Hard, the Flint movies, Dean Martin's Matt Helm series, Agent Cody Banks, the OSS 117 French comedies starring Jean Dujardin, and, of course, The Tuxedo. With all these and more already created, what will separate Cohen's spoof? What new things does the filmmaker have to say about James Bond?

For one thing, Cohen isn't so much a purveyor of genre-directed parody as he is one of reality-directed satire. His famous films Borat, Bruno, and this year's The Dictator, all take on sociopolitical issues like racism, international relationships, homophobia, America's obsession with fame, tyranny, and others. What he'll do with the fluffier, fantastical spy genre is mysterious. He'll likely stray away from jokes about over-complicated gadgets, and perhaps take a deeper look at the cultural implications of secret agencies, oppressive governments, and such. In said case, Cohen might deliver a more original Bond parody than we've seen any time recently, focusing not on the obvious jokes but on ones that nobody has really made: what would a James Bond mean in the real world?

Johnston's credits include the screenplays for Cedar Rapids and the upcoming Wreck-It Ralph.

[Photo Credit: David Edwards/Daily Celeb]

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