March 05, 2003

Martin Sheen Takes On New

Martin Sheen Takes On New Role As Iraqi Dictator
New NBC Show To Be Called The Middle East Wing

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (Rhodes Media Services) -- Fresh from his recent appearance at an anti-war rally, actor Martin Sheen said he had accepted a new acting role as Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in a new NBC show called The Middle East Wing.

Sheen, who plays President Josiah Bartlett on the NBC drama, The West Wing, said the chance to portray Hussein was one that he simply couldn't pass up.

"Well, I figured that, since playing a U.S. president on television apparently makes me a total expert on American policy and politics, playing Saddam will make me an expert on Iraqi policy," said Sheen. "Just like playing Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now made me an expert on military action."

The learning curve for Sheen will be intense, especially considering that, when asked to locate Iraq on a world map, he pointed to California.

The new show will be a major departure from Sheen's West Wing role. Far from the polished and sterilized White House sets he's used to, Sheen will spend most of his time in a mock-up of an underground bunker, and the end of each show will feature the summary execution of one or more top Iraqi officials believed to be plotting against Hussein.

"Obviously, I deplore violence in any form," he said. "And, I think that, as the show grows in popularity, I'll be able to convince the producers to phase out the summary execution aspect of the show and focus more on the man who is Saddam Hussein. He's a father, you know, and I'm envisioning some touching scenes between Saddam and his sons."

As for the West Wing, producers say the show will continue, but with a Texas oil man as President, presumably to be played by Chuck Norris.

Posted by Ryan at March 5, 2003 01:19 PM
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