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THE DICTATOR (2012)
Release Date: May 16, 2012
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: Larry Charles
Screenwriter: Sacha Baron Cohen, Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer, David Mandel
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris
MPAA Rating: R
LARRY CHARLES (Directed by) is the award-winning writer producer and/or director of such comedy classics as Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Borat, Brüno, Religulous and The Dictator.
SACHA BARON COHEN (Written by / Produced by) – see "About the Cast"
ALEC BERG (Written by / Produced by), DAVID MANDEL (Written by / Produced by) and JEFF SCHAFFER (Written by / Produced by) began their writing career together in college as editors of The Harvard Lampoon. In 1991, they received their first credit on Comedy Central's MTV Give Me Back My Life. After separate stints (Berg and Schaffer at Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Mandel at Saturday Night Live), they reunited at Seinfeld. There they were nominated for numerous Emmys and guild awards and eventually helped run the show until it was cancelled by NBC.
After being driven from the TV business, they began concentrating on feature films, writing numerous original screenplays and doing extensive rewrite work for Mike Myers, Will Smith, Jim Carrey, Robert Zemeckis, Jay Roach, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. In 2004, they co-wrote and co-directed the cult teen comedy Eurotrip.
In recent years they have returned to TV to write, direct and produce HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David, for which they have once again received numerous Emmy and guild nominations.
On the heels of having worked with him on Borat and Brüno, the trio conceived of and co-wrote with Sacha Baron Cohen the script that would become The Dictator. They also serve as producers on the film.
TODD SCHULMAN (Produced by) has been working with Sacha Baron Cohen since 2003 and the HBO television series Da Ali G Show. He was field supervisor on the Oscar®-nominated Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and co-produced Brüno.
Since 2009 he has been Vice President of Production and Development at Sacha Baron Cohen's production company, Four By Two Films.
In the 1990s, Academy Award®-nominated writer ANT (ANTHONY) HINES (Produced by) worked on a number of successful British comedy shows for the BBC and Channel 4, amongst other broadcasters, which led to him meeting and working with Sacha Baron Cohen on Channel 4's The 11 O'Clock Show. This was followed by a wildly successful series of Da Ali G Show for the same network, after which HBO commissioned two series under the same name, for which Hines was the head writer, earning him two Emmy nominations. Hines continued his collaboration with Baron Cohen as co-writer of the film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Better Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which earned him an Academy Award® nomination. He then co-wrote and was executive producer of Universal Pictures' Brüno and is a producer on The Dictator. Currently, Hines is co-writing the Sony feature Church Wars for Baron Cohen and is also developing a half-hour TV series for HBO.
SCOTT RUDIN (Produced by) – Films include:The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; Moneyball; Moonrise Kingdom; Margaret; The Social Network; True Grit; Greenberg; It's Complicated; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Julie & Julia; Doubt; No Country for Old Men; There Will Be Blood; Reprise; The Queen; Margot at the Wedding; Notes on a Scandal; Venus; Closer; Team America: World Police; I Heart Huckabees; School of Rock; The Hours; Iris; The Royal Tenenbaums; Zoolander; Sleepy Hollow; Wonder Boys; Bringing Out the Dead; South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut; The Truman Show; In & Out; Ransom; The First Wives Club; Clueless; Nobody's Fool; The Firm; Searching for Bobby Fischer; Sister Act; and The Addams Family.
Theater includes:Passion; Hamlet; Seven Guitars; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Skylight; The Chairs; The Blue Room; Closer; Amy's View; Copenhagen; The Designated Mourner; The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?; Caroline, or Change; The Normal Heart; Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Doubt; Faith Healer; The History Boys; Shining City; Stuff Happens; The Vertical Hour; The Year of Magical Thinking; Gypsy; God of Carnage; Fences; The House of Blue Leaves; Jerusalem; The Motherf**ker with the Hat; The Book of Mormon; One Man, Two Guvnors; and Death of a Salesman.
Television includes HBO's The Newsroom.
MARI JO WINKLEY-IOFFREDA (Executive Producer) served as executive producer on Premium Rush, directed by David Koepp and starring Joseph Gordon Levitt; Fair Game, directed by Doug Liman, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn; Away We Go, directed by Sam Mendes, starring John Kransinski and Maya Rudolf; and Dan in Real Life, directed by Peter Hedges, starring Steve Carell and Juliet Binoche. Prior to her executive producer credits, she was the co-producer on No Reservations, directed by Scott Hicks, starring Catherine Zeta Jones, Aaron Ekhardt and Abigail Breslin; and two Curtis Hanson films—Lucky You, starring Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore; and In Her Shoes, starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine. She also co-produced Peter Chelsom's re-make of the Japanese hit Shall We Dance, starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez.
Winkler worked her way up through the production ranks, serving as a production manager for a decade on films such as The Shipping News, Cold Mountain, A Thousand Acres, The Crucible and The Object of My Affection.
She is a dedicated environmentalist and a Chair of the PGA National Green Committee. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.
ADAM McKAY (Executive Producer) is a writer, director and producer, whose film credits include Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers and, most recently, The Other Guys. He is a former head writer of Saturday Night Live and one of the founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade. Other past credits include writing for Michael Moore's show The Awful Truth and co- founding the comedy website "Funny or Die" with Will Ferrell. Adam also produces HBOʼs hit comedy series Eastbound and Down, now in its third season, through his and Ferrellʼs company, Gary Sanchez Productions. In 2009 he took to the stage, directing the Tony-nominated Broadway showYou're Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush.
PETER BAYNHAM (Executive Producer) is an acclaimed screen and television writer and producer whose credits include the hit comedy Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, for which he earnedAcademy Award ®and Writers Guild Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy, and was on the American Film Institute's 2006 Best Movies list.Baynham also wrote the story for Brüno, its successful follow-up. He created Sony Pictures/Aardman Animation's international hit animated comedy feature Arthur Christmas, which he wrote with director Sarah Smith. The movie, nominated for Golden Globe, BAFTA and Annie Awards, received excellent reviews; it was the Rotten Tomatoes' website's best-reviewed animated movie of 2012.
Baynham's television credits include writing two seasons of the BBC's critically acclaimed, extremely popular I'm Alan Partridge, starring Steve Coogan. The show won a British Comedy Award and Baynham received a BAFTA Award for Best Series. He also received a BAFTA Best Comedy Series nomination as co-writer of BBC 2's highly acclaimed, groundbreaking series The Day Today, which was also nominated for a British Comedy Award for Best Series. In addition, Baynham co-wrote Channel 4's controversial comedy series Brass Eye and Jam.
Baynham's performances on television include the highly popular character Peter from the BBC's Fist of Fun and a co-presenter of the satirical comedy series Friday Night Armistice. Baynham alsowrote anddirected his own acclaimed BBC2 animation comedy series I am Not an Animal.
Baynham wrote the screenplay for 2011's Arthur. An upcoming project in development with Sacha Baron Cohen is comedy feature Accidentes, charting the rise of a Latino ambulance-chasing personal injury lawyer.
Baynham's path to his profession was circuitous, to say the least. Growing up in Wales, he ran away to sea at 16. However, his encounter with the romance of the high seas was an unmitigated disaster, when he nearly collided with a ferry; he was asked to leave the Merchant Navy. Baynham headed to London to pursue a more suitable job as a writer. He remains an appalling navigator.
DAN MAZER (Executive Producer) is a British screenwriter, TV/film producer, director and comedian. He is best known as the longtime writing and production partner ofSacha Baron Cohenand has worked with him on such characters as"Ali G" and"Borat." Mazer co-wrote and co-produced the filmsAli G Indahouse (2002),Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) andBrüno (2009).
Mazer attendedHaberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, where he met Baron Cohen. He went on to read Law at Peterhouse,Cambridge University. He was an active member ofCambridge Footlightswhile at university and was vice president from 1993 to 1994. His early work includes production roles onThe Word,The Big Breakfast andThe 11 O'Clock Show. More recently, he created, wrote and directedDog Bites Manfor Comedy Central.
In 2007, he was nominated for anAcademy Award® for Best Adapted Screenplay for co-writingBorat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan withSacha Baron Cohen,Ant Hines,Peter Baynham andTodd Phillips.
Along with working on several feature projects, he is currently in production onI Give It a Year,ananti-romantic comedy starring Rose Byrne, Anna Faris, Rafe Spall and Simon Baker for Working Title Films and Studio Canal, which marks his feature directorial debut.
The Dictator marks VICTOR KEMPSTER's (Production Designer) first collaboration with multi-hyphenate Sacha Baron Cohen. Previously, Kempster teamed up with Tom Hanks on three films: he designed Mike Nichols' Charlie Wilson's War and both of Hanks' directorial efforts—That Thing You Do! and Larry Crowne, co-starring Julia Roberts.
Kempster got his start as a location coordinator before finding his calling in the art department. He was the art director on Best Picture® winner Driving Miss Daisy, before embarking on a long and fruitful relationship with Oliver Stone. Beginning with his work on Born on the Fourth of July, he earned his stripes as production designer on the historic tapestry JFK. Kempster cultivated the ability to utilize a broad palette of visual styles working with the influential filmmaker, and their artistic partnership flourished on such films as Heaven and Earth, Natural Born Killers, Nixon, U Turn and Any Given Sunday.
Notable achievements include capturing the alluring yet dangerous criminal underbelly in Michael Mann's big-screen version of Miami Vice, and depicting the growing tensions of a Southern city in the TV mini-series Chiefs, which garnered Kempster his first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Art Direction. Other feature credits of note include Barry Levinson's Envy; Bandits, starring Bruce Willis and Cate Blanchett; and Spike Lee's Bamboozled.
GREG HAYDEN (Edited by) has edited such films as Little Fockers; Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder, for which he received an American Cinema Editors (ACE) Eddie Award nomination for Best Edited Comedy/Musical; Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Danny DeVito's Duplex (shared credit); Ben Stiller's Zoolander; and Jay Roach's Austin Powers in Goldmember (shared credit).
His credits as an additional editor or co-editor include Blades of Glory; Meet the Parents; Mystery, Alaska; Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me; and Forever Young.
ERIC KISSACK (Edited by) got his start editing television inNew York,but quickly realized that he was predisposed to loathing cold weather. He has been working as a feature film editor inLos Angelesfor the last several years. His credits include Role Models, Brüno, Cedar Rapids and A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas. He still wears sweaters when it's 60 degrees inLos Angeles.
JEFFREY KURLAND (Costume Designer) began his career in costume design in New York City. After graduating from Northwestern University with a B.A. in design, he moved to the East Coast to design for the theater. Jeffrey soon segued into designing costumes for film when he began designing the stylish films of director Woody Allen.
Kurland has the unique distinction of being the costume designer of 15 films for Woody Allen, from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s. He has since realized the visual story for over 40 films, collaborating with such renowned directors as Milos Forman, Neil Jordan, Steven Soderbergh, Michael Mann and Christopher Nolan.
During his career, Jeffrey has dressed a host of leading actors. He has created designs for leading men such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey, Jr., Michael Caine, Viggo Mortensen and Leonardo DiCaprio. He has also designed for leading ladies Julia Roberts, Marion Cotillard, Cameron Diaz, Annette Bening, Diane Keaton, Gena Rowlands and Ellen Page. He received a BAFTA Award, Britain's highest film honor, for his designs for Radio Days and an Academy Award® nomination for his work on Bullets Over Broadway. Jeffrey was awarded the Costume Designers Guild award for his designs for the film Erin Brockovich and received a nomination for his work on Ocean's 11. His work has also been recognized through being honored with The Hamilton Timeless Style Award.
Jeffrey Kurland sits on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He co-curated the exhibit 50 Designers/50 Costumes: Concept to Character for the Academy, and his designs have also been featured in several exhibits around the world. He has spoken on the art of costume design in numerous symposia at the Directors Guild of America, the American Film Institute, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and UCLA, where he has also taught. Jeffrey's work is featured in the publications Screencraft: Costume Design, 50 Designers/50 Costumes: Concept to Character and Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design. His work will also be represented in the upcoming exhibit, Style and Seduction: The Art of Motion Picture Design at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, October 2012.
ERRAN BARON COHEN (Music by) has composed music for a myriad of eclectic projects, encompassing orchestral commissions, advertisements, cutting-edge dance and film/TV scores. He is perhaps best known for his award-wining scores to the 2007 global blockbuster Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and Brüno (2009).
Following the release of Borat, the Kazakhstan Philharmonic commissioned Baron Cohen to compose a symphony. The subsequent work "Zere," scored for a 70-piece orchestra, was performed in London and Kazakhstan and also recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.
Baron Cohen is also the founding member of ‘World Fusion Beat Scientists' Zohar, which has seen him tour the world with his band and also as a club DJ. Zohar's last album, Do You Have Any Faith, was released in 2007 (through Miles Copeland's CIA label) and the band's critically acclaimed debut, one.three.seven was released in 2001 (Universal/Ark21).
In 2008 Baron Cohen completed his first album project as a solo artist – Songs in the Key of Hanukkah (New Line Records), which features guest appearances by a variety of world-class artists intent on expanding an updating the festival's musical repertoire. The album contains new songs performed by Israeli stars Idan Raichel & Yasmin Levy, and New York-based rapper Y-Love to name but a few, all of whom co-wrote their songs with Baron Cohen. Released in December 2008, the album received saturation press coverage in the U.S., where Baron Cohen was featured in print and on several major NPR radio shows. "Dreidel,”a cut off the album, was performed live on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Studio photos, notes and videos © 2012 Paramount Pictures