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Sacha Baron Cohen Signs First-Look Deal With Paramount

The three-year pact is also with the provocateur's production banner, Four By Two Films.

Sacha Baron Cohen
Danny Moloshok/AP

Sacha Baron Cohen has signed an exclusive three-year first-look deal with Paramount Pictures, the studio announced Wednesday.

The Viacom-owned studio is releasing the provocateur's forthcoming comedy The Dictator on May 11. The next film Cohen makes with Paramount will be the first of his three-year deal.

As part of the arrangement with Cohen and his Four By Two Films banner, Paramount has also created a development fund for Cohen to generate projects in the United Kingdom to find new talent.

Four By Two will be headed by Todd Schulman, co-producer on The Dictator and Bruno (2009).

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Cohen, who first caught the attention of stateside audiences with Da Ali G Show, which aired in the U.S. on HBO, has released a handful of successful comedies. Bruno grossed $139 million worldwide and Borat took in $262 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

"Sacha is a comic genius. A wildly talented writer, actor and filmmaker. Beyond that, he is the rare global comedy star," said Brad Grey, CEO of Paramount, in a statement.

The actor is known for provactive marketing campaigns for his films that see him tape talk show appearances and attend premieres and other events in character. And those characters often cross traditional boundaries of taste and political correctness. At Sunday's Academy Awards show, Cohen -- dressed as the dictator from his forthcoming film -- dumped what he said were the ashes of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on TV host Ryan Seacrest.

The Dictator, directed by Larry Charles, is the story of a ruthless ruler who risks his life to ensure that democracy never comes to the country he oppresses.

Cohen is repped by WME.

Email: Daniel.Miller@THR.com

Twitter: @DanielNMiller