In his last movie role, Sacha Baron Cohen ridiculed the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. For his next project, he might be portraying Hong Kong’s most notorious, homophobic playboy.
Cohen and his production company Four by Two Films have signed an agreement with Paramount Pictures to develop a project inspired by Cecil Chao Sze-tsung, Hong Kong’s version of both Hugh Hefner and Donald Trump, Deadline.com reported on Thursday. The movie, tentatively titled ‘The Lesbian’, would be inspired by Chao’s public refusal to acknowledge his daughter’s same-sex partnership and his pledge to give a $65 million dowry to any man who would marry her.
Deadline said that the British comedian was tapped to play the 77-year old Hong Kong billionaire. No writers have yet been chosen for the project, Variety reported.
Cecil Chao, the son of a shipping magnate, has gained celebrity status in Hong Kong for parading his riches and bedtime partners across the pages of local tabloids for decades. His public boasting of having had 10,000 girlfriends and an alleged, disputed marriage with a model thirty years his junior have made him a perennial conversation topic in local cha chaan teng cafes.
Last year, as reported by the South China Morning Post, the real estate tycoon — who lives in Villa Cecil, uses the car number-plate ’Cecil’ and shuttles to his yacht by helicopter — had himself photographed for a local magazine while surrounded by bikini-clad models in a bid to irk a rival tycoon who had himself published a similar pose in another magazine.
Homosexuality, among men, was legalized in Hong Kong in 1991. But the city, autonomous from the Chinese mainland in legal matters, does not allow civil unions or marriages for same-sex couples. Earlier this year, the first member of the Hong Kong parliament openly stated that he was gay, but only after election night. According to a Hong Kong government survey, 51.7 percent said they considered homosexuality within their own families “unacceptable” or “strongly unacceptable”.
“I hate to be the one bursting his daydream bubble, but hello, it’s 2012,” Cecil Chao’s daughter Gigi said in a prominent interview.