Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe to Empire!
Save up to 63%
Halo 5 Guardians
The Master Chief returns
Movie News

Daredevil Debuts A Season 2 Poster
Concept art heads to NYCC
Terminator Genisys Producer Says The Franchise Is ''Re-Adjusting''
Dana Goldberg insists plans are not on hold indefinitely
The Good Lie's Philippe Falardeau Directing The Bleeder
Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts still on board the boxing drama
Disney's Moana Finds Its Lead Voice
Aula'i Carvalho will play the young explorer
Lex Luthor Makes The Fortune 500
Jesse Eisenberg's archvillain finds fame
Sony Plans A Danger Mouse Movie
Ooh crikey!
More Movie News

15 August 2015
First Look At Alice Through The Looking Glass
And Pete's Dragon
More Movie News

Les Miserables (2013)
Empire Star Rating
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012)
Empire Star Rating
The Dictator (2012)
Empire Star Rating
Hugo (2011)
Empire Star Rating
Bruno (2009)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Sacha Baron Cohen Is The Dictator
From a book by Saddam Hussein?!

20 January 2011  |  Written by Helen O'Hara  

submit to reddit

So here comes a sentence we never thought we'd write: Sacha Baron Cohen's next film is The Dictator, inspired by the book Zabiba and the King by Saddam Hussein. Yes, that Saddam Hussein. Larry Charles is set to direct, and Scott Rudin is producing. The film will hit screens on May 11, 2012.

The film is "the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed".

That sounds like a slightly loose adaptation of the book, a romance novel purportedly written by the former Iraqi dictator (and, most believe, ghost-written with some involvement from him).

Set in 7th or 8th century Tikrit, the book's heroine is the titular Zabiba, a commoner who is harshly treated and raped by her evil husband. The hero is the country's King 'Arab, who forms a platonic but deeply felt love affair with the wise young woman. Cue plots against the throne, uprisings of the population and heroic self-sacrifice all over the place.

If you're looking for allegory, Zabiba represents the Iraqi people, 'Arab is Saddam and her husband the US invaders. Probably. But we're guessing Cohen and Charles (who, of course, also directed Borat and Bruno as well as Religulous) will be putting the "fun" in "fundamentally not great literature" with their screen adaptation. We'll see for sure next year - start speculating on other casting, and indeed everything else about the film, right now!

Have Your Say
To comment on this, and all articles, register for free or login now.

Shawn Levy Prepares Deadliest Warrior
Producing and maybe directing TV spinoff
Todd Field Accepts The Creed Of Violence
Update: He's got the funds to make it

Your Comments

I get the feeling this may be another send up. a film about SBC trying to make a film about Saddam Hussein. Cue akward pitches to movie execs, desperate American actors doing awful auditions for the various roles, and protests from the general public. Probably not, but we will see More

Posted by Drew_231 at 07:20 on 21 January 2011 | Report This Post

Denis Villeneuve Talks Sicario
On his cartel thriller and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel

Tomorrowland: The Viewing Guide
Brad Bird talks through his sci-fi adventure, scene by scene

Empire Meets Ridley Scott
The great director on The Martian, Blade Runner 2 and the Prometheus sequels

My Movie Life: Justin Kurzel
The Macbeth director on how Rocky changed his life and the worst ever date movie

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

All Hail Macbeth! The Scottish Play On Film
By the pricking of our thumbs, ten adaptations this way come(s)

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)