There are really two Sacha Baron Cohens. One is the guy you know from "Borat" and "Bruno" -- the dude dressed up as an outrageous character who embarrasses unsuspecting celebrities and politicians on camera -- and then the one who's in "Sweeney Todd" and the upcoming "Hugo," who's more of a serious actor. The first guy is more famous, but if Baron Cohen wants to have a long career, he's gonna need to let people see that second fella more often. Being cast in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" is a great way to do that.
Variety is saying that Baron Cohen is "in final negotiations" to play the small-but-apparently-pivotal role of Scotty. Who Scotty is seems to be a little uncertain. Variety describes him as "a gambler who buys Django's wife [Kerry Washington] as a female companion." But when The Playlist read the script back in May, Scotty was "a shy, overweight 24-year-old whose father purchases [Washington] for him, in an attempt to build his confidence. One of the more sympathetic white characters on show, he's genuinely in love with [Washington]." (Interestingly, The Playlist said that Jonah Hill would be perfect for the role. Hill mentioned recently he had to turn down a part in "Django" because of his schedule. We guessed he was up for Scotty.) So, it appears Scotty may have become a slightly darker, more assertive character in rewrites.
Even if Baron Cohen's known more as a comedian, Tarantino has occasionally used comedic actors for serious roles. Chris Tucker was in "Jackie Brown," and Mike Myers ... well, he was just OK in "Inglourious Basterds" But Tarantino enjoys taking established names and putting them in unconventional parts, often with great success. Welcome to the club, Borat.