Sacha Baron Cohen might hope that playing Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in a new biopic will bring him actor cred, but rest assured, he’s not abandoning his satirical roots. BBC News is reporting that the busy British funnyman will star in The Dictator, a comedy loosely adapted from a novel that has, well, a bit of notoriety. The source material, the book Zabibah and the King, is believed to have been written at least in part by the late Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein.
“Although Zabibah and the King was written under the pseudonym ‘The Author’,” BBC News notes, “it is believed it was written by ghost-writers carefully supervised by Hussein.
“Set in the 7th or 8th Century, the romance novel tells the story of a king who falls in love with a poor, married woman.”
Taking some comedic license on the material, The Dictator will depict “the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.”
The Dictator will reunite Baron Cohen will his Bruno and Borat director, Larry Charles. Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm writers Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer, and David Mandel are set to write the script, and Scott Rudin will produce. It is scheduled for a May 12, 2012 release.