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 Dominic Cooper here at Sundance to talk about how he got involved in the film and what it was like to make it. We talked about the challenges of playing two characters, the really high production values (the film looks like a big budget Hollywood film), what it’s like being at Sundance, can he watch himself on screen, what he wants to do in the future, his role as Milton Greene in My Week With Marilyn, and so much more. Hit the jump to watch:
Baghdad, the playground for the rich and infamous, where anything can be bought – but for a price. This is Uday Hussein’s world and with his depraved lust for debauchery and immorality, he helps himself to whatever turns him on. When army lieutenant Latif Yahia, is summoned to Saddam’s palace, he is faced with an impossible request – to be Uday’s ‘fiday’ – his body double, or have his family condemned to death. In a world entrenched in betrayal and corruption knowing who to trust becomes a matter of life or death for Latif, as he battles to escape from his forced existence.
- Talks about pursuing the role and what it provoked in him
- 3:00 – How much of the performance is based in reality
- 5:15 – Credits the crew members for the high production values on an indie film
- 6:35 – Talks about the Sundance premiere and the festival experience
- 7:30 – It’s very hard to watch himself on screen, but he’s proud of the work
- 8:40 – Hopes this film opens him up to challenging work in future projects
- 9:55 – Talks about his role as Milton Greene in My Week With Marilyn