There are few actors that manage the same kind of dynamic range of quality in their body of work that Ben Kingsley has managed to achieve. Typically slumming it too much will get you stuck in DTVs, while the A-listers who keep working at the top tend to avoid garbage as often as possible- Kingsley though… he manages to weave back and forth with ease. Hopefully though, the newest deal he’s signed will be for a great one as he’s joined the cast of The Dictator opposite Sacha Baron Cohen, which will begin filming next month.
The original deal for the film went through back in January, and Cohen signed on with director Larry Charles (Bruno, Borat) to make a film inspired by/based on a book credited to Saddam Hussein. I took a look at the full context of the story behind the book here, and now with Variety’s report comes further confirmation that the story focuses on “a deposed foreign ruler who loses his way while visiting America.” This means that the book will merely be a jumping off point, and the obliviously straight-faced political fairy tale it tells perhaps a reference for the tone of the film, which I expect to be in line with Borat/Bruno.
Kingsley is set to play a middle easterner that is important to the plot, but there are no details beyond that. The film will be shooting in New York and Morocco, though there are still a few loose ends. The female lead still requires an actress with comedy chops, and apparently Kristen Wiig, Gillian Jacobs, and Anna Faris are all up for the role. I have a hunch Wiig will get it due to the quickly growing heat from Bridesmaids, but that’s just speculation.
I’m very excited for The Dictator- for all the hype and monstrous cultural oversaturation, Borat still holds up very well for me, and Bruno was just the right kind of smaller, edgier follow up . I’m excited to see what these guys do when they bring a well-meaning committer of human rights atrocities to the states!
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