Sacha Baron Cohen, the creative mind behind Ali G, “Borat”, and “Bruno”, likes to antagonize people. That’s not exactly an earth shattering statement. And from the reports, one of his next roles is going to raise some eyebrows, to say the least. Today Paramount announced that Cohen is going to play the lead role in their upcoming film “The Dictator”.
That doesn’t sound so outlandish, does it? Here’s the twist. “The Dictator” is a comedy based on the novel “Zabibah and the King”, originally published in 2000, and written by none other than Saddam Hussein. Yep. Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein wrote a novel. Though it is widely believed that ghostwriters are responsible, and I can only imagine that they were subsequently killed in some unpleasant manner and fed to hungry dogs (that last part is pure conjecture on my part). Apparently the book, “tells the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.” That sounds about right.
While the film is set in the 7th or 8th century and thus doesn’t tell the outright story of Saddam’s regime, the main character’s name is Hussein and the allegorical parallels to the dictator’s own life (as well as his dealings with the U.S.) are unmistakable. In essence, that means that Cohen will be playing Saddam Hussein himself, one of the most reviled rulers of modern times—though it’s a safe bet the film won’t exactly paint him in the most flattering of lights.
Cohen is going to co-write the script and team up with “Borat” director Larry Charles. “The Dictator” is set for release on May 11, 2012. This should be interesting.