Sacha Baron Cohen

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. 

Commentarium (16 Comments)

Jun 09 11 - 1:20pm
profrobert

Um, didn't Chaplin do something almost exactly along these lines in The Great Dictator?

Jun 09 11 - 1:50pm
WTF?

Most misleading headline ever. A movie inspired by a book written by a dictator with a character based on said dictator doesn't even begin to come close to being a biopic - a movie based on someone's actual real life. And then the last paragraph bends over backwards trying to somehow justify your misuse of the word. Way to be an idiot.

Jun 09 11 - 3:27pm
BenReininga

Oh, come on. Biopic. Biographical picture. It means a movie based on the life of a person. In this case, it's based on the book Saddam called his autobiography. It wasn't his autobiography; that's why I used quotation marks. "biopic"

But surely it's not perfect. If you can come with a better one, (it's gotta be less that 45 words though), I'll change it.

Jun 09 11 - 4:17pm
WTF?

No, it means a movie about the life of a person. Go ahead and read the plot synopsis in the article you linked to - it's not about Saddam's life. Your definition would equate anything that was "based on actual events" with what actually happened in a given event - big difference. And since most of the shit Saddam said wasn't based in reality, the fact that he wrote the source material doesn't make much of a case for it being about his actual life - not that it wouldn't make an interesting movie.

Just because someone inspires a character doesn't automatically mean whatever movie results is then automatically about that person's life.

"Sacha Baron Cohen gets inside the mind of Saddam Hussein."
"Sacha Baron Cohen to act like Saddam in 'The Dictator'"

Either of those is closer to the spirit of what he's doing.

Jun 09 11 - 4:35pm
@WTF?

Why The Frown? Wasting Time Frequently? Waxing Tediously Forever? Witless Temperamental Fool? Your mountain. It looks like a molehill from here.

Jun 09 11 - 6:24pm
Also @WTF

Dude, you need to sit the fuck down.

Jun 09 11 - 9:38pm
helloworld

actually, I agree with WTF. That was extremely misleading. The author should change it.

Jun 10 11 - 10:51am
add one word

Sacha Baron Cohen will play Saddam Hussein *character* in new "biopic"

Jun 09 11 - 3:45pm
anon

Why will this guy not go away? Who goes and sees these things? He's not funny!!!

Jun 09 11 - 9:39pm
helloworld

He is funny and a boat load of people watch his stuff. I'm not sure about this one though.

Jun 09 11 - 10:01pm
KCN

The same people keeping 2 & 1/2 men on the air are the ones seeing this.

Jun 15 11 - 9:18pm
julian.

fuck 2 and 1/2 men

but sacha baron cohen is hilarious.

Jun 15 11 - 9:19pm
julian.

subtle? there will be nothing subtle about any SBC movie. This will be a controversial movie indeed, but I may still enjoy it if he doesn't try to hard to stay controversial.

Jun 23 11 - 6:13pm
Steven

I'd go see it if Hussein were still alive. Then again, it would be a waste of money, just like the Iraq war.

Aug 31 11 - 10:11am
Teiya

You got to push it-this enssetail info that is!