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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 01/25/2011

"Borat" star making film based on Saddam Hussein's romance novel

By Stephen Lowman

borat.jpgNo joke: A romance novel Saddam Hussein is believed to have written about a decade ago is being turned into a film by “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen.

Hussein’s novel is titled “Zabibah and the King.” It tells the tale of a poor peasant woman (Zabibah) who is married to an abusive husband. Thankfully, a benevolent king (Hussein) saves her from her plight. Hussein is strong and protective toward Zabibah, but shows his tender side when he carries her up the stairs of his palace to his dim, candle-lit bedroom where he has his way with her on a petal strewn bed.

Ok, that last sentence was made up.

In truth, the romance is meant as an allegory, with Zabibah representing the Iraqi people and her violent husband representing the United States. It was originally published anonymously in Iraq, with some reports saying it sold a million copies. It should be noted that it’s never been confirmed that Hussein wrote it, or if he had ghostwriters write it for him, or if someone else is behind it.

The movie will forgo the book’s title and will instead be called “The Dictator.” Paramount Pictures is aiming for it to arrive in theaters in May 2012.

Should the movie be a hit the studio won’t have to look far for sequel material. Saddam Hussein supposedly wrote three other novels.

By Stephen Lowman  | January 25, 2011; 11:00 AM ET
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