More or less everyone involved in long-running HBO comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm" has done pretty well out of it outside of the day job: creator/star Larry David toplined a Woody Allen film (albeit a terrible one...) and bagged a supporting turn in "The Three Stooges," Jeff Garlin's become a Pixar stalwart second only to John Ratzenberger, while Cheryl Hines got to make her directorial debut on "Serious Moonlight." But perhaps the biggest breakout seems to be the actor who's behind one of the most seminal supporting characters on the show: J.B. Smoove, who's played Leon Black on the last couple of seasons of the sitcom.
Smoove's a veteran stand-up and comedy writer, with acting credits going back to "Pootie Tang" and "Mr. Deeds." But recent months have seen him take big supporting roles in a number of comedies: he was a second-stringer in "Hall Pass," poor soul, but more promisingly will be seen in two of the more anticipated comedies of the fall, David Gordon Green's "The Sitter" and Cameron Crowe's "We Bought A Zoo." And now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, he's just been added to what could be the biggest comedy of next summer as well: the Sacha Baron Cohen vehicle "The Dictator."
Filming is firmly underway on the picture, which sees the British comic reunited with his director on "Borat" and "Bruno," Larry Charles, and playing a dual role; of a goat-herder and a deposed despot. Reports keep repeating the idea that the film is based on the novel "Zabibah and The King," reputed to have been written by Saddam Hussein, but we're pretty sure that was a joke, seeing as it doesn't bear much resemblance to the released logline.
Anna Faris is playing the female lead (and you can check out a first look of her character below), Ben Kingsley is "a Middle-Eastern character" and Jason Mantzoukas ("Parks and Recreation") will be Baron Cohen's sidekick, while John C. Reilly and Megan Fox are both set to make cameos. Smoove will play the role of 'Usher,' although it's unclear if that's his name, job description or if he's actually playing the R 'n B superstar. We hope it's the latter...
On a similar note, Film Music Reporter says that Erran Baron Cohen, the musician brother of the film's star, will again provide the music, as he did on both "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Glorious Benefit Nation of Kazakhstan" and "Bruno." Baron Cohen Sr. specializes in music with Middle Eastern and Jewish leanings, and was a founding member of 'world fusion beat scientists' ZOHAR, so we'd expect something along those lines. "The Dictator" will hit theaters on May 12, 2012, going head to head with Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" and the ensemble rom-com "What To Expect When You're Expecting."