Controversial comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is to play a dictator – in a film adaptation of a book by Saddam Hussein.
The Borat star will co-write and star in The Dictator, based on Zabibah And The King, a romance novel the CIA believes was written by ghost-writers under the influence of former Iraqi dictator Saddam and published under his name.
Film-makers say it 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”.
The comedy is due to be released worldwide on May 11, 2012 by Paramount Pictures.
The studio has announced that Borat and Bruno director Larry Charles has joined the project as director.
Sacha will co-write the screenplay with Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer and David Mandel – the team behind hit US comedies Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
The Ali G star and the writing team will also co-produce the film with Scott Rudin, producer of the award-winning drama The Social Network.
Rumours have previously circulated that Sacha was to star as a foreign dictator and a goat herder in his next film project.
It was claimed that studios began a bidding war for the production rights to the Oscar-nominated star’s next film and Paramount were rumoured to have won him round by sending live goats to his office.