We can now add "deposed dictator," alongside "gay fashionista" and "Kazakh yokel," to the list of characters that Sacha Baron Cohen has inhabited. He'll be playing Saddam Hussein in an upcoming biopic (in the loosest sense of the word). The first images of the him in the role were released today. And they're pretty incredible.
The film is called The Dictator, and it's based on a book called Zabibah and the King, which was apparently written by Saddam Hussein himself. The plot follows a benevolent, beloved King (a stand-in for Hussein), who gets replaced by a body-double goat herder and ends up moving to New York and falling in love with a married woman with a cruel husband. According the Huffington Post:
It's a subtle allegory for Iraq and the United States — the king (based, obviously, on Saddam) is the peaceful Iraq, while the cruel, rapist husband is the Gulf War-waging United States.
Whatever it is, it sounds weird and intriguing. Now, you might ask, can such a story really be called an biography? No. But then again, do those pictures look anything like Saddam? Not really. Did Saddam have such amazing taste in sunglasses? Not to my knowledge. And yet, it doesn't matter. Whether you think he's hilarious, offensive, played-out, or some combination of the three, it's difficult to deny Baron Cohen's skill as an actor. Given that and such strange subject matter, I can't help but think this is going to be fun.