The film will see Cohen working again with the Borat and Brüno director, Larry Charles, who is of course also well known for his work on Seinfeld and, more recently, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage.
Given the incredible success of the two earlier Baron Cohen films (Borat took $260m from an $18m. budget, Brüno took $138m. from $42m.), I think it’s a fair prediction to say that The Dictator will be another great outing for the Baron Cohen-Charles team.
The release date is set for 11th May next year, so we have just over a year to wait to see what will undoubtedly be both a shocking and enjoyable film on the big screen. The Dictator has been scripted by Baron Cohen and former Seinfeld writers Alec Berg, David Mandel, and Jeff Schaffer, all of whom have been working since on the ingenious Curb Your Enthusiasm alongside Charles, with Schaffer also a part of the Brüno writing team. Knowing that the film has been written by people who clearly work together so well, it certainly sounds like something to look forward to this time next year.
The film will be,
“the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.”
“Baron Cohen plays a ruthless dictator who heads to the U.S. for a meeting at the United Nations and finds that his number two has replaced him with an unsuspecting sheepherder lookalike. As the dictator wanders the city, he meets the owner of an organic food store. That’s the role Faris is negotiating. She turns around his dictatorial thinking, and there’s a little romance in it as well.”
The film is loosely adapted from the novel, Zabibah and the King, which is widely believed to have been written by Saddam Hussein and his ghost-writers, and was a best-seller in Iraq back in 2000.
Faris’ role is said to need a strong improvisational ability, and I think that she’s perfect for it. She was brilliant back in Scary Movie, all those years ago, and instantly made a name for herself. Her arc at the end of Friends a good few years ago was also excellent, along with the few episodes she was in in Entourage.
Kingsley of course is always capable of bringing something amazing to the table. He and Baron Cohen have been working together on Martin Scorsese’s Hugo Cabret, due out early December this year, so the pair will undoubtedly already have a great chemistry.
All in all, The Dictator is shaping up to be one to look forward to next year. With Baron Cohen playing both the dictator and presumably his lookalike too, we can look forward to seeing at least two sides of him in the film, and both should make for great entertainment. With such a great cast and director already confirmed, and a writing team that has already got a great track record, there’s lot of momentum behind the project and talent enough to make it work when it hits the screen.