Sacha Baron Cohen is to play a Saddam Hussein character in the comedy The Dictator.
The film will be based on romance novel Zabibah And The King, which American secret service CIA believes was written by ghost-writers under the leadership of Iraq’s former President Saddam Hussein. The role will be a major test of Sacha Baron Cohen’s acting prowess.
The producers, Paramount Pictures, say the film 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”.
The story was meant to be a metaphor for Iraq during the first Gulf war, with the wise monarch representing Saddam, the poor peasant girl Zabibah (who the king falls in love with) personifies the Iraqi people, and her brutal husband embodies the evil Ameican forces.
The team behind comedy Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm will be co-writing the script alongside Sacha Baron Cohen. Borat and Bruno director Larry Charles is also onboard for the latest comedy project of the Ali G star.
When news first broke about the production of The Dictator, a bidding war between several producers began.
Paramount Pictures is said to have won the contract after sending Sacha Baron Cohen a live goat dressed in a studio T-shirt to his office – as well as giving him a ’20-20’ deal.
The comedy The Dictator is set for worldwide release on May 11, 2012.