Sacha Baron Cohen The Dictator

Sacha Baron Cohen The Dictator

The Dictator

Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Megan Fox, Anna Faris
Director: Larry Charles
Genre: Comedy
Rated: MA

Synopsis: The film tells the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.

Release Date: May 16th, 2012

Welcome to Wadiya

The North African nation of Wadiya has the potential to be the next Dubai…if it weren't for the crushing poverty, lack of refinement and the man who rules from his inherited throne-General Haffaz Aladeen.

"He has lost the legitimacy to rule," President Obama of the United States has gone on record as saying. "He must step down."

On the verge of being officially sanctioned by the United Nations, the General has announced his first trip to the U.S. to address these insults, slanders and charges.
"It is outrageous to call me a dictator. I am the undemocratically elected leader of my people. Actually, my full title is Admiral General Aladeen, Supreme Leader, Chief Ophthalmologist, Invincible, All Triumphant, Beloved Oppressor of the People of Wadiya…and excellent swimmer, including butterfly. I have 118 PhDs, and a diploma in spray tanning from the Qatar Community College."

Award-winning writer/performer/filmmaker Sacha Baron Cohen has made a living out of culture clash. Whether as a British Jamaican-wannabe rapper slash chat show host, a somewhat naïve Kazakhstani television reporter or an out and relatively out there Austrian fashionista, Sacha Baron Cohen is in the business of finding humor and revelation in the often uncomfortable collision of vastly differing viewpoints and lifestyles. His stupendously and deservedly popular British television series made its wildfire way to the British movie screen. His subsequent and unstoppable transition to Hollywood was made in a film helmed by director Larry Charles, who again collaborated with Sacha Baron Cohen on his follow-up project (and now, once again, with The Dictator).

Larry Charles comments, "When we did Brüno, we were shocked because we had thought that after Borat, we'd never get away with it again. And then we put Sacha Baron Cohen into the Brüno make-up, the hair and the outfits, and we went around Los Angeles with him-we kept thinking that we were going to get busted in two seconds. But generally speaking, nobody recognised him. He looked so different-and there's a fascinating psychological component to all of this. It's like when people are eyewitnesses to crimes, but it turns out that what they saw is not actually what happened. People don't look as closely at things as you might think. And when someone like Brüno is walking around the street, they tend to not look him in the eye; they don't want to look at him too closely. So, we took advantage of that, and insinuated Brüno into all of those situations without ever being discovered."

Co-star Jason Mantzoukas remembers the effect Da Ali G Show had on him and his friends: "A friend of mine sent me this show from the U.K., and told me that we had to watch it…and we became obsessed with it. It was the idea at the time, which was quite novel and amazing, to be playing a fictional character within real life, in the real world. It was hilarious to us, going after those politicians as Ali G. I thought those were amazing. And then he subsequently followed that up on a continually larger scale. It's really evident that the ethos of Sacha Baron Cohen is unrelenting commitment to a character."

Going in with the character of General Aladeen, however, was to be a different experience, and the 'real' world was to be replaced with a facsimile of a real, scripted world-however, just outside of the borders of this fictitious North African country, a real world waits…

Sacha Baron Cohen's prescience with regard to story and character proved preternatural - as work on The Dictator started in earnest months before the first demonstrations in the Middle East began a chain reaction of unrest, and long before the world had ever heard of (or used the phrase) "Arab Spring."

Larry Charles states, "This movie really began more than two years ago. The fact that the Arab Spring emerged as we were making the movie did affect us, with regard to locations and shooting schedule. But here we were, developing this project, and then to watch it happening on the news was uncanny."

As usual for Sacha Baron Cohen, the character also needed to be grounded in truth. During the early stages of development, General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen in full costume) was placed in several interview situations with people unaware of the ruse, and the resulting discussions were recorded. Larry Charles says, "Again, we were able to get away with it. It gave Sacha Baron Cohen a chance to play with the character and interact in a spontaneous, improvised way. But we knew going in that this was to be a scripted film, that it would be 'unrealistic,' as it were, to try and do it the other way-there was too much story, too many other characters, too many others aspects that had to be serviced. Throughout the process, however, we tried to maintain the same edge as in those earlier projects."

The differences in the project intrigued both Sacha Baron Cohen and the director. Larry Charles again: "There are a lot of layers to it. There's a political layer to this movie that talks about the modern, real politics of the world with a very unique point of view. And we're using that to question very basic assumptions about our society-what is democracy? what is a country? When you have large countries being dominated by corporate interests, lobbyists, those kinds of influences, what do the borders of our country mean? Is there an America? or is America just a brand? Is 'democracy' just a word? What does 'dictatorship' ultimately mean? What system is the best for people? and what system ultimately works? There is suffering in all political systems, so we examine how the media covers these stories, these themes and these issues. So we were able to deal with all of these things in an intentional way that gives the movie many layers beyond the story itself, and it delivers as a comedy. We believe it's as funny as the other movies, if not funnier."

"Larry Charles is a guy walking the tightrope," says Academy Award®-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley, "because any great comedy is all about taste. You have to have men of great taste and intelligence on the set who know exactly how far we can push any given envelope: when to retreat, when to charge forward again. Larry Charles and Sacha Baron Cohen are very fine generals."

Among the many charges being leveled at Aladeen are accusations of hostility toward neighboring nations. "I am not hostile. My country has existed for over seven million years, ever since the dinosaurs were wiped out by the Zionists. And during that whole time, we have never attacked another nation, unless it was an emergency or we were really bored. But who cares about the past? This is about the future," he hisses beneath his Versace sunglasses.

When it came to filling the roles around Aladeen, the mandate was clear, per director Larry Charles: "One of the things that I talked about a lot when I was making the movie was that the dynamic between Sacha Baron Cohen's character and all the other characters was very similar to the way that Borat or Brüno might relate to people. So we needed actors who, on their end of it, were spontaneous and ready to improvise and ad-lib, to be able to go with the flow wherever it went-in order to give that same kind of feeling within this scripted format."

Most actors, when hard pressed, are willing to admit their strengths (or lack of it) in the area of improvisation. And if not, one dip in the pool with another adept at "thinking on his/her feet" is enough to demonstrate their aptitude. Larry Charles' extensive background in that type of comedy (Curb Your Enthusiasm) more than gave him insight into the methodology, and he again collaborated with the same casting team from both Borat and Brüno. They found their choices far from limited. He observes, "There is a vast talent pool of actors who are incredibly diverse, incredibly eclectic, and also have the ability to be very spontaneous and improvise-some actually thrive in that environment. We all really liked Anna Faris' work, and that's why we wanted her in the movie."

On paper, the part of Zoey is neither glamorous nor overtly comedic. "Yet we knew," continues the director, "that we wanted somebody to ground things, and bring comedy as well as truth to her. Anna Faris is a fearless performer. She has an image, and she was willing to completely abandon that image. It was a completely un-vain portrayal and I think it gives the movie a lot of heart and emotion, and she really connects you to what is going on there. She was amazing, actually - almost like the ballast for the movie."

Anna Faris was more than willing to veer from script when the opportunity was presented. She notes, "We did a ton of improvisation. There was a script, and I would say that about 10-per-cent of the time, we followed the script. We had the writers behind the monitors, throwing out lines to us all of the time - different jokes, different ideas. And Sacha Baron Cohen is a genius at improv, so the challenge as an actor, when you are in those scenes, is to stay on your toes. You have to step up to the plate and be able to play with them. It was really rewarding in that way."

Her take on Zoey: "She a girl who is not concerned with aesthetics; I really love the way I look in this movie. It feels independent and certainly not vain, which is fun. Even my armpit hair is all mine. I grew it out for three and a half months and I don't want anyone accusing me that it's fake!

"We serve as stand-ins for audience," continues Anna Faris, "the way the politicians did on 'Da Ali G Show', or any of the people who crossed paths with Borat. To that end, I was allowed to go wherever I wanted to with improvisation - there was freedom all round. There were moments of genius in there every once in a while-not on my end!-but there were also moments when I was thinking, 'Hm, I'm not sure that is ever going to work in this movie.' My character, as with other characters in the movie, our strengths lie in reacting to Sacha Baron Cohen's lunacy, which is very important."

To anyone outside of a totalitarian state (where literally a nation of people look the other way every time their leader does something ridiculous and holding his own Olympics), Aladeen's erratic behaviour may come off as imbalanced. "I am not insane. Look at me. Am I insane? Am I insane? I am not--I'm one of the least insane dictators there are. In fact I'm maybe the cutest. You know I was voted Cutest Middle Eastern Dictator two years running. But I am not insane. What do I do that is insane?"

For the character of Uncle Tamir, filmmakers looked beyond the waters of traditional comedic performers. "We wanted a heavyweight," professes Charles, "someone associated with great drama and intense acting. Sacha and I always thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if we could get Sir Ben Kingsley to play the role?'"

Sir Ben Kingsley and Sacha Baron Cohen had met previously ("We had had exchanges-'Love your work,' 'Love your shoes'-that sort of thing," jokes Sir Ben Kingsley). Then, the two collaborated on Martin Scorsese's affecting drama Hugo, and both their mutual respect and regard for the other deepened. Sacha Baron Cohen, Larry Charles and Sir Ben Kingsley later met in New York to discuss the new project, and found "a tremendous connection between the three of us. We talked about the movie, and life in general. If you look at the diverse portrayals he has given over the years, you will see he is virtually capable of doing anything. But what we needed from him was not to try to be funny, but to be serious, and that would be funny. And he very much embraced that concept," relates Larry Charles.

Sir Ben Kingsley states, "I'd like to reassure the audience that no civilians were harmed in the making of this film. No goats, and no civilians. We had the opportunity to work with a spectacular cast of actors, all professionals, so that the stolen moments that were so integral to Sacha Baron Cohen's other wonderful characters, these are not stolen moments. These are scripted, they're rehearsed, they're crafted, and that necessitated a crew maybe 20, 30, 40 times larger than he's previously been used to working with on his commando raids. And this isn't a commando raid, this is a battalion charge, and it's a huge difference. And it's also terribly exciting and just as challenging as the other projects, only in many different ways."

Even for one of the leading dramatic actors in the business, facing Sacha Baron Cohen in a scene was not without its difficulties. Sir Ben Kingsley attests, "The obvious challenge to me, working with Sacha Baron Cohen, is to try to not be funny. Not to allow his extraordinary sense of humor and delight in the humor of his character to be contagious, because I have to be the rock. I'm the straight man, but I also have to be aware of comedic rhythm. It's like playing great tennis, but when I hit the ball back to Sacha Baron Cohen, it's just a straight volley-he can whack it back in his crazy way, and then I straight volley back. It's in that contrast, hopefully, that we'll get the dynamic of the comedic relationship."

Jason Mantzoukas found walking on to the set of a Sacha Baron Cohen movie somewhat intimidating, like joining a team where everyone already knows each other. But he found joining in the game to be gratifying. He says, "There was a great core group of people that had all worked together, and they have a dynamic that really works to create good stuff-it's great to walk in to. Obviously, there was a script, and that was really funny. But then, there's another document, a script with alternate lines. So we'd explore those. And the writers, they'd have other options to try. Or Sacha Baron Cohen's got an idea, or even in the middle of a take he'll make a really weird choice, and you go with that. It was great to be in an environment where ideas could and did come from anywhere, and we'd pretty much try them all.

"The person I really felt sorry for," Jason Mantzoukas admits, "was the script supervisor. I don't know how she dealt with it. Sometimes, we'd do a 20-minute take. There was some great stuff, and it still could be funny but not make it into the movie-if all of it did, it'd wind up being nine hours long."

Finding and Filming in Aladeen's World
The flamboyant leader's arrival in the United States was in keeping with his larger-than-life personality, parading down Fifth Avenue astride a camel, while protestors lined the route. "I love America. It's a wonderful place. Death to the West. There are so many people here who love me. You know, outside the hotel there are supporters with signs saying Aladeen, Aladeen! I don't know what the rest of the sign says, but my PR minister tells me they are extremely flattering."

He pauses, then continues, "In Wadiya, there are no dissidents. The opinion poll says 112% of the population adores me, and 14% are indifferent. There are no dissidents, there are no protestors in my country. They are all foreign terrorist gangs."

Production of The Dictator began in Brooklyn, New York, in June of 2011. For the next three months the company visited four of New York's five boroughs, setting down in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The task of finding the various locations fell to production designer Victor Kempster and location manager Kip Myers.

Says Kip Myers, "This particular film had a lot of locations already written into the script: the United Nations, a zoo, Fifth Avenue. But the idea of creating Wadiya in New York presented more of a puzzle."

Recalls Victor Kempster, "When I met with Sacha Baron Cohen, I had just seen Brüno, which I though was hilarious, a perverse act of true provocation. I thought the idea that he would stay in character for something like 16 hours and draw out whatever truth there was to bear in the interaction was amazing. At that meeting, they were being very cagey about the script. It was his first narrative film per se and a wonderful political satire. And I was amazed at the timing. It was about a North African dictator and meanwhile, North Africa and the Middle East were going through an explosive period. I thought Sacha was terribly prescient to have gotten the timing so amazingly right.

"And the tone of the film was very interesting, in that it was a funny political satire making use of all of his skills as a comedian," continues the production designer. "But it also had a nice story and a rather graceful way to handle the comedy of it. In a way, there is a little bit of an old-fashioned story, but so up-to-the-minute, a fish-out-of-water. You have this completely insane character, whose relationship with the real world makes no sense. He's a complete narcissist and very bizarre. Then he's brought to New York, and he winds up in a totally unfamiliar world."

In doing research for the film, Victor Kempster travelled to Morocco and to the Emirates to get a sense of how such a man would live. As well, production looked at such figures as Libya's Qaddafi-"a one-off genius about clothes, an odd combination of brute and dandy"-with a lifestyle so outrageous, it landed somewhere in the area of cartoonish (e.g., Ukrainian nurse guard?).

Victor Kempster points out, "We looked architecturally to the Emirates, chiefly because of the newness of everything there, and the almost rapacious manner in which they're competitively building unbelievable projects. Bigger than anyone, better than anyone, employing architects from all over the world. In what makes these leaders so fascinating is the combination of outrageous means and very peculiar choices…like their very repetitive use of artwork and portraiture of themselves."

Both Sacha Baron Cohen and the designer also looked at facets of the lifestyles documented in the book Dictator Style…the rather bold artistic choices demonstrated in Hussein's collection, for example. Victor Kempster: "Let's say fantasy artwork. Naked, beautiful, extremely well-endowed beauties, flying tigers in a place where cities are floating on clouds."

The Supreme Leader is not shy about weighing in on the style of (or lack of style of) his 'fellow leaders': "The way Ahmadinejad dresses is an embarrassment for dictators. He looks like a snitch on Miami Vice. I mean, why does he never wear a tie? Is every day in Iran casual Friday? WTF?"

For Aladeen's palace, three locations were melded into one…his bedroom being one of the more spectacular sets, which was actually a magnificent room in the Villard Mansion (now, the Helmsley Palace Hotel). Per costume designer Jeffrey Kurland, "Aladeen is sort of a boy-child with an adolescent sexuality to him. That's part of the charm of how Sacha Baron Cohen played it. He really is a big baby and his idea of how to engage in sexual relations is absolutely silly to the point of the impossible; that's part of why it's funny."

And while, as in the past, Sacha Baron Cohen would remain in character for filming, there were moments where the actor had to put on his alternate writer/producer persona. Larry Charles illustrates, "On Borat, we would wake up in the morning and meet in the lobby, and he was Borat, and that was it. He would stay in character and all day. When we would have arguments, he would argue with me as Borat. Listen, we never had a second take on Borat or Brüno, so whatever that performance was, it had to be captured in that one take. With The Dictator, we were able to cut, we were able to talk, we were able to adjust and we were able to tweak things, and so it just wasn't practical for him to constantly stay in character. But we had our little tricks to plunge him back into character when we got in front of the camera. So even after a big discussion on the scene, he was very able to stay in that character and in that mindset-even without the voice and the mannerism, it's still there."

Where does a dictator find a defunct nuclear power plant when he needs one? Well, how about East Shoreham, New York, on Long Island? The Shoreham Nuclear Power plant was a nuclear boiling water reactor located adjacent to Wading River in East Shoreham, New York. Decommissioned by protests in 1989, after generating only a small amount of commercial electrical power during testing, it had sat unused for more than 20 years.

Recalls Kip Myers, "We looked everywhere for this location. We saw huge empty warehouses and airplane hangars and New York basements with big pipes-but Victor Kempster was adamant that this had to be really, really huge and look like the real space. Then we stumbled upon the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant."

Repeated testing with Geiger counters confirmed the environment as completely safe, but some were nervous during the first scout. That soon gave way to the enthusiasm felt by the design team, having landed in such an enormous (and near perfect) environment for the sequences. Production utilised the facility's control room, and then constructed a gigantic, "kind of Dr. No" set, based on research of an Iranian centrifuge room in a similar plant.

The entrance to the plant was filmed at a small farmhouse in Spain, so that the plant itself seems disguised as an abandoned dairy farm in the middle of the desert - Aladeen walks past cows and women hanging laundry, passes through a high-tech door, and emerges in the nuclear facility. Later, his return to the facility finds it a little worse for the wear, with cows actually inside the plant.

For that scene, 24 Holsteins and Cardenas were brought in from Pennsylvania and hauled up to the fourth floor set in a newly constructed elevator (the factory's original no longer functioned), where the livestock extras roamed the room (now carpeted in a special flooring and covered in hay).

From bovine to big city…one of the toughest scenes to film was not on a farm or a power plant, but on the streets of New York City. Per the script, Aladeen's entry into the Big Apple is manifested in a parade down Fifth Avenue. The Dictator's summer shooting schedule was confronted with the city's seasonal litany of weekend parades and festivals. Production needed to lock down a date quickly to ensure that filming would be permitted.

"We closed down Fifth Avenue from 53rd Street to 57th Street, and had to re-route traffic from 6:00 to 10:00 in the morning. We only had one day in June to do it, one chance at it, because there are so many parades in New York during the summer. Thank goodness it was a nice, sunny day," recalls Victor Kempster.

Production not only had to seek permission from the police, but also the department of health, as Aladeen (and his luggage) make their way up the Avenue on camels. Permits were issued by 'grandfathering' in the camels, thanks to the Rockefeller Center's yearly use of the animals in their Christmas manger scene (new rules went into effect soon after production left, which no longer allows the creatures - so The Dictator camels made it into New York just in time). The camels were in good company, marching along with a real Presidential limousine and four custom-painted baby blue Lamborghini Murciélagos.

Once down Fifth Avenue, the company relocated to the Roosevelt Hotel, called the Lancaster in the story, where Aladeen first lands in New York. (The interior of his palatial suite was constructed on a soundstage in Brooklyn, taking up nearly the entire stage. The hotel's exterior, lobby and re-dressed ballroom were utilised for filming.)

Explains Victor Kempster: "When I was in Morocco scouting, there was a hotel nearby where one of these kings was going to be staying. They arrived with a huge retinue of people. When they travel, they change all the furniture, bring in their own version of wall-to-wall carpet and their paintings-of themselves, generally. The wives and women do not live in the same space; they stay somewhere else. So when we designed his hotel room, we brought some of that into it."

An important "get" for production was obtaining permission to film the anti-Aladeen demonstration outside of the United Nations. Having invited several past dramas to shoot in or around the facility, this was the first time the organisation was confronted with a film request coming from a comedy. But given the fact that one of the story points involves the struggle for one nation to attain democracy, the U.N. agreed.

I spit on the United Nation. Why would I listen to the United Nation? You know, they invited me to speak? You know how long they asked me to speak for? Seven minutes. You know what I said to them? I will speak for 14 hours, and some of them would be literally untranslatable, you know, baby noises [makes baby noises]!

Such collisions of the 'real' and the near-'real' were not lost on Sir Ben Kingsley. He points out, "I believe Sacha Baron Cohen is as fearless as Charlie Chaplin was when Charlie Chaplin decided to make the film The Great Dictator, which was in 1940. I recently got a DVD of it and I was amazed that it was made so early in the War. Before the U.S. entered in 1941, here he was making jokes not only at Hitler's expense, but also Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. It's a mercilessly funny film and a great piece of satire and dangerously timely. I think Sacha Baron Cohen and Charlie Chaplin have a great deal in common."

The set for Zoey's Free Earth Collective needed to be housed in an empty storefront, which itself would need to be located in a neighborhood unruffled by 15 days of major motion picture filming. Production hit a "home run" when it discovered such a disused store on West 37th, with enough space nearby to station the multiple production vehicles with relatively little headache to local residents and passers-through.

But upstairs-the rooftop farm written into the script-had to be located elsewhere. The roof of the 37th Street store did not look like the place for a garden. So, for the Collective's farm, the company removed themselves to Brooklyn where, on the shoreline of the East River with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline, the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is located. A 6,000 foot organic vegetable farm, it is located atop a warehouse in Greenpoint. During New York's growing season, the farmers at Eagle Street supply a community-supported agricultural program and bicycle fresh produce to area restaurants. They also host a range of farm-based educational and volunteer programs.

More reality entered into production when choosing the site of the eating establishment known as the Death to Aladeen Restaurant, located in the supposed area of New York called Little Wadiya. Production wound up scouting an area of Queens known as Little Egypt, about the same time as the recent unrest and demonstrations in that country. As Sacha Baron Cohen and filmmakers walked in and out of restaurants, the employees of every store and eatery were tuned in to the news from Tunisia and Libya, so they were able to observe first-hand what it felt like to long for change in a homeland halfway around the world.

Other New York locations included scenes filmed in/on/around: the Apple Store on the Upper West Side; a metal stamping company in Brooklyn; the Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island (where Aladeen wins his many track and field medals); the West 30th Street Heliport; the Queensboro Bridge; Orsay Restaurant on the Upper East Side; Times Square; the former Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Central Harlem (recently sold to be transformed into a community, cultural and exhibition center); and the Staten Island Zoo.

Reality also dealt the company a different hand, when the political landscape in the Middle East necessitated a location shift-where Morocco was once the intended stand-in for Wadiya, those scenes would now be filmed in various parts of Spain.

Per Larry Charles: "We were going to shoot our Middle Eastern section - our Wadiyan section - in Morocco, but the environment proved too changeable. I think that makes this project very timely, but it's a tricky game. It's great to stay one step ahead of events, but you definitely don't want to fall a couple of steps behind. But the Arab Spring and subsequent events continue to unfurl even now, and don't seem to be any closer to ending any time soon."

At the end of filming in New York, the company travelled to Seville, Spain, where the famed Plaza España doubled for the exterior of Aladeen's Wadiyan palace. Designed by the architect Aníbal González as part of an extensive urban development project for the Ibero-American Exhibition, the Mudejar Pavilion was the centerpiece of the 1929 Ibero-American World's Fair.

Following Seville, the company decamped to the island of Fuerteventura, one of Spain's Canary Islands in the Atlantic just off the coast of Africa. The second largest of the Islands, Fuerteventura was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2009. Although considered a tourist destination, much of the island is made up of large plains, lavascapes and volcanic mountains.

In a nod to Lawrence of Arabia, production took advantage of the beautiful Corralejo Sand Dunes to shoot scenes of Aladeen riding Garrett, his powerful Friesian stallion, through Wadiya's Jalabiya Desert. (Garrett's resume also boasts starring roles in such films as Hidalgo, Alexander and Clash of the Titans.) The dairy exterior of the Wadiyan nuclear facility was found just outside Puerto del Rosario, and further scenes involving the goat herd (can there be too many scenes involving a goat herd?) were shot in the mountainous terrain in the La Oliva region on the northern tip of the island.

Leaving Wadiya
For director Larry Charles, his third collaboration with Sacha Baron Cohen provided him yet another opportunity to revisit a special kind of cinema. Larry Charles closes, "My favorite comedy is always one that works on multiple levels...even going back to when I was a kid, watching Warner Bros. cartoons like Bugs Bunny. As I got older and more sophisticated, I realised that they were making jokes at all other levels for adults, and making references to things that a kid wouldn't understand. But that made me want to understand. Later, I found it to be the same with something like Saturday Night Live as well. So I'm happy with anybody going to this movie and getting whatever they get out of it. My main job is to offer them as much as possible - to give them as dense and intense an experience as possible, and then it's up to them to engage with it however they want to, whoever they are at that particular time, going into the theater and absorbing it in that particular moment. So I'm open to whatever experience people have with the movie, as long as they ultimately enjoy it on some level."

Whatever the future holds for Wadiya and its leader, Aladeen will always hold a place in his heart for the good days gone by. "I must say, I miss Kim Jong-il very much. You know, he was a great guy. He died as he lived…in three-inch heels. The guy did so much for the world, you know. He spread wisdom, compassion and herpes throughout Southeast Asia. But he was very bullied at the gatherings of the Axis of Evil. Gaddafi would always make these jokes on him. One time, Muammar took Jong's Blackberry and would send love messages to Ahmadinejad, telling him he wanted to kiss him, and promising the Korean people that they would get food. You know, Libya almost got nuked for that."

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