Not-so-subtly channeling Charlie Chaplin, Sacha Baron Cohen’s film will be a comedy based on a semi-autobiographical novel by the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Paramount Pictures announced on Thursday (Jan. 20) that “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” veterans Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer and David Mandel will join Baron Cohen in adapting Hussein’s “Zabibah and The King,” which apparently was a bestseller. “Borat” and “Bruno” director Larry Charles will helm the project.
A release date of May 11, 2012 has been set for the project, which will be retitled “The Dictator,” in a likely homage to Chaplin’s 1940 Hitler parody “The Great Dictator.”
According to Paramount, “The Dictator” tells the story of “a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.”
Scott Rudin will produce, marking his first collaboration with Baron Cohen.
Veiled versions of Hussein’s life are becoming hot cinematic property. “The Devil’s Double,” featuring Dominic Cooper as a man forced to impersonate Uday Hussein, is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.