Saddam Hussein

What’s maybe most fascinating about Sacha Baron Cohen‘s newest movie is that he won’t be playing himself via one of the characters he created for his television show, and he won’t be acting alongside people that don’t know what kind of movie they’re in. It’s a welcome change because even with its successes, the schtick had a shelf life, and Cohen is smart to move away from it before it got completely stale. The natural next step for him and director Larry Charles? Basing a narrative feature off a novel written by Saddam Hussein. They’ll be mocking Hussein in The Dictator, and a few clips from the set have already come out, but this is the first one that’s any fun to watch. At first, it’s a little jarring because the mind wants to see that crowd as a group protesting something legitimately that Cohen has wormed his way into instead of a set full of extras. It’s still a fun, quick little look into the film as Cohen protests himself.

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Perhaps the most famous rendering of Saddam Hussein on-screen was as a bowling alley shoe attendant in one of The Dude’s vivid daydreams. Now, that’s about to change. Although he won’t be playing him directly, Sacha Baron Cohen will be playing a courageous dictator fighting tooth and nail to keep democracy from infiltrating the country he’s severely oppressing for The Dictator. The tongue-in-cheek treatment of the bad guy and the title are obvious callbacks to Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, which mocked Hitler with wondrous dance sequences and gibberish. Borat and Bruno director Larry Charles is back, but this is an entirely different animal. It’s great to see this kind of comedy being made, and it’ll be interesting to see how well Charles and Cohen can pull it off. According to the press release, the movie is set for release through Paramount May 11, 2012.

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