Sacha Baron Cohen on Playing the 2 Sides of Abbie Hoffman in ‘Trial of the Chicago 7’ (Exclusive Video)

“There’s a balance between the clown and the intellect,” the Oscar nominee says

Sacha Baron Cohen, who earned his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” discussed the duality of his performance as Vietnam War protester and left-wing provocateur Abbie Hoffman in a new featurette available exclusively on TheWrap.

“In a way, there’s two Abbies,” Cohen said. “There’s the public persona of Abbie where he’s trying to inspire people and then there’s the private Abbie. So there’s a balance between the clown and the intellect.”

Cohen’s co-stars in writer-director Aaron Sorkin’s film compared noted the similarities between Hoffman and Cohen himself — and the British star’s work as a satirist, most notably in the two “Borat” films (the second of which earned Cohen a screenplay Oscar nomination this year).

“Sacha has demonstrated a lot of courageousness in terms of standing up to power,” said Jeremy Strong, who plays Jerry Rubin in the film. “So that’s a wonderful sort of confluence between an actor and a character.”

“In Shakespearean times, the Fool was the guy who appeared to be the comic but somehow exposed people to themselves,” added Eddie Redmayne, who plays Hoffman’s fellow defendant and ideological rival Tom Hayden. “And I feel like what Sacha has done his whole career is made people fall on their own swords.”

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” is available to stream on Netflix now. Watch the featurette in the clip above.


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