Baron Cohen in Saddam Hussein film?
The whole story sounds like a comedy in itself, but the word is that Sacha Baron Cohen will be starring in a comedy that is, and here's the tenuous link, thought to be inspired by the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
There's a few “ifs” and “buts” in there, and a couple of stretched tenuous links, but the connection is there none the less and the film, called The Dictator so no comparisons to be made with the great comic actor Charlie Chaplin then?
Perhaps there is, and perhaps it's deliberate, for Charlie Chaplin performed the role of Hitler in The Great Dictator, well we all knew who he was playing and making fun of, and now Sacha Baron Cohen is making a film about Saddam Hussein called The Dictator? Well not quite the same, but the comparisons are there and being made.
The Dictator is to be adapted from the novel Zabibah and the King which was apparently best-seller in Iraq in 2000 and a comment from Paramount Pictures reveals what the film will be about:
”...the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.”
Really? The story from the BBC tells us that the writers are credited with Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, so you can tell the direction of this story, and it's being directed by Larry Charles who you'll know directed Brüno (Filmstalker review) and Borat.
The original novel was believed to have been written under close supervision by Saddam Hussein and is set in the seventh or eighth century telling the story of a romance between a King and a poor married woman.
Sounds like film fodder regardless, but the added attraction of the story behind the writing of the novel will definitely raise some more controversy and interest. It has already.
I wonder if this will be updated to reflect modern times, or the film will be a direct adaptation? Surely the film-makers will see the opportunity and make a comedy of the real life merged with the book?
Part of me thinks we've missed a great performance though, we could have seen something much more dramatic, and who is to say we won't yet? Perhaps this and The Devil's Double will pave the way, but this film will only have a real contribution to that push if it turns its focus to the modern day. Do you think it would dare?