Thesp forms Four by Two Films
Sacha Baron Cohen has formed Four by Two Films, his first production shingle. The company recently opened for biz by mounting a spec pitch auction that saw Columbia Pictures spend seven figures to beat out two other studios for an untitled vehicle that Baron Cohen will co-write and star in.Multihyphenate will write the script with Ant Hines, Peter Baynham and Dan Mazer. The foursome scripted “Borat” and “Bruno,” earning an Oscar writing nom for the former. Four by Two Films has also made a deal with Universal Pictures for “Accidentes,” a Baynham-scripted comedy in which Baron Cohen will play an ambulance-chasing personal injury attorney of Latin descent who becomes a hero of the working class when he helps an immigrant win a judgment against his wealthy employer after a landscaping mishap. He becomes the enemy of L.A.’s power elite. “Accidentes” was originally acquired as a pitch last year by Fox Atomic, whose topper Debbie Liebling was the exec who acquired “Borat.” That production label folded, the rights lapsed, and a new deal was just made at Universal, which distributed the Baron Cohen starrer “Bruno.” Baron Cohen will produce both pics. The formation of the production shingle comes after Baron Cohen turned all three of his character creations from “Da Ali G Show” into feature films. The last was “Bruno,” and while that film didn’t match the weighty expectations created by “Borat,” the under-$40 million comedy about the flamboyant Austrian fashionista grossed nearly $140 million worldwide. “Bruno” and “Borat” together grossed nearly $400 million worldwide. He will now focus on playing characters in scripted fare, as he has already done in “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” and “Sweeney Todd.” Baron Cohen has hired Todd Schulman as VP of development for Four by Two. Schulman was co-producer on “Bruno.” Baron Cohen hasn’t set up his next star vehicle, but the Columbia comedy is definitely a candidate. Baron Cohen is repped by WME, while Hines is with ICM and Baynham and Mazer are repped by UTA.