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Sacha Baron Cohen appears in a promotional photo for the 2006 movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. - Provided courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Sacha Baron Cohen to play Saddam Hussein in 'The Dictator'

01/21/2011 by Corinne Heller

Sacha Baron Cohen, known for his zany and often offensive characters Borat and Bruno, is set to play Saddam Hussein in the comedy film "The Dictator."

The film "tells the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed," Paramount Pictures said in a statement.

"The Dictator" is directed by Larry Charles, director of the movies "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" and "Bruno," and is set for release on May 11, 2012.

The film is based on the 2000 Iraqi romance novel "Zabibah and The King," many say was written by Hussein, who was executed in 2006 in Iraq after being found guilty of crimes against humanity. The book tells of an Iraqi ruler who marries a villager against her will and even rapes her, which is supposed to be symbolic of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in the early1990s.

Baron Cohen, 39, rose to fame in his native United Kingdom as the television personality Ali G. The "Borat" and "Bruno" films are based on his side characters, an overly-friendly Kahzakh reporter and a fashion expert. While in character, the comedic actor speaks with people in various locations and scenarios, often making sexual or rude remarks.

Baron Cohen has also starred in movies such as "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" and "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."

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