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I'll be the first to admit Ben Kingsley is typically better playing it straight. Unlike John C. Reilly, his deviations into more ludicrous fare don't rival his more critically-acclaimed work, but as an every now and again thing, I can support Kingsley's occasional taking of a strange role. He did it with the underseen Wackness in 2008, and now he's going even further in Sacha Baron Cohen's newest.
Entitled The Dictator, it follows the title tyrant as he begins questioning all he holds dear during an eye-opening trip to America after his own people depose him. He once vowed to sacrifice himself to keep democracy out of his country, but the goat herder quickly realizes people live a bit differently in a free society. Seinfeld writer and Borat director Larry Charles is on board to helm the feature, and Kingsley will play a Middle Easterner who meets the former leader during his travels.
With principal photography due to start shooting in New York and Morocco in late May, producers are still scrambling to hire their female lead. According to Variety, it's come down to Gillian Jacobs, Anna Faris or Kristen Wiig, but as of press time, no official decision has been made. The role will require whomever's chosen to think on her feet and improv beside Baron Cohen, no easy task, but all three of those women have extensive comedy backgrounds.
The Dictator is scheduled to open in May of 2012. Expect it to perform better than Bruno.