Next month, Sacha Baron Cohen could take home an Emmy award for his work on Who is America?, which proved there are still ways to mock a world that often seems beyond satire. It was him at his best—playing original characters who unmask the vapidness and absurdity of real-life figures—and it was really freaking funny. Before he gets recognized for his comedic work though, fans will get to see him in a very different type of role. He will star in the new Netflix drama series The Spy, which is based on the true tale of an Israeli spy who infiltrated the highest ranks of the Syrian military. And while it might be a serious role, it will still call on Sacha Baron Cohen’s ability to pretend to be someone else.
This first look at the upcoming six-episode limited series introduces Baron Cohen as the former real-life Mossad agent Eli Cohen, who successfully went deep undercover in Syria in the early 1960s. The spy was “close enough to ambitious military leaders and their rich friends to earn a game-changing level of trust about Syria’s biggest anti-Israel secret initiatives.” However, as the trailer shows, his story is also one about the personal cost of serving your country while living a secret life you can’t easily shake off.
The Spy, written and directed by Gideon Raff (Homeland, Tyrant), also stars Noah Emmerich (The Americans) as Dan Peleg, “Eli’s Mossad handler who tires to ease his own guilt over the sacrifices Eli makes”; Hadar Ratzon Rotem (Homeland) as Eli’s wife, Nadia, “who is left to raise their family on her own and knows something isn’t right about her husband’s government job”; and Waleed Zuaiter (Colony) as Amin Al-Hafz, “a military officer who thinks he’s found the perfect ally in the undercover Cohen.”
While this will be a very different type of role than the ones Sacha Baron Cohen normally plays, comedic actors like Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jim Carrey, have successfully made the switch to drama before. He’s also shown he can be serious and good, like in Sweeney Todd. And based on this trailer he looks up to the challenge, especially since no one is better prepared to play a man whose job required him to pretend to be someone else.
Each episode of the hour-long drama The Spy will be available on Netflix on September 6.
Featured Image: Axel Decis/Netflix