One of the many films to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was director Lee Tamahori’s The Devil’s Double. The film’s loosely based on the life of Latif Yahia and his interaction with Uday Hussein (Saddam Hussein’s son). Yahia is rumored to have been Uday’s body double and supposedly had plastic surgery to make his appearance even more realistic. In the film, Dominic Cooper plays both Hussein and Yahia and he does an incredible job playing both characters and brings each to life in a unique way. While the story of Latif Yahia was never proven to be true, Tamahori has taken the premise and created a new type of gangster film. The constant in every gangster film is eventually the cops will get involved. But in this story, Hussein is the son of the man who runs the country, and he literally has the freedom to do anything he wants. The other thing to know about Hussein in The Devil’s Double is that he’s a raging psychopath that tortured and raped young women, killed people without warning, and treated everyone around him like play things that were there for his amusement.
Again, if you’re looking for a factually accurate film about the fall of Iraq, this isn’t it. But if you’re a fan of gangster films, excessive violence, and a crazy story that’s never been told on screen, I definitely recommend The Devil’s Double. I thought it was great.
Anyhow, a few days ago I sat down with director Lee Tamahori and we talked about how the project came together, making the film look more expensive than it actually is, the gangster genre, casting Dominic Cooper, what it’s like being at Sundance, editing the movie, his next film (a Western based on the Witi Ihimaera book Bulibasha: King of the Gypsies) and a lot more. Hit the jump to watch: