Pulling double duty in The Devil’s Double, Dominic Cooper plays both Iraqi royalty Uday Hussein and his lookalike, Latif Yahia.
“I went full out,” he said about auditioning for director Lee Tamahori. “I had to. I had to make two distinct characters in that audition to convince Lee, who probably had only seen me dancing on rocks singing ABBA music. But we were both so much in the same frame of mind about it and what the film should be,” recalled Cooper. “We can’t make this into a detailed historical account of events and actually the most important thing to do is to make sure the audience can always decipher between the two men. The illusion is never broken, the audience must always be aware who they are watching at any given moment. And I ,think that that was the key. And then we both worked on how we could develop these characters.”The Devil’s Double debuted at January’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah and received a limited theatrical release late last month. The movie focuses on Hussein, the hard-partying son of Saddam, and body double Yahia, who made himself available to the filmmakers and even appears in the movie as Saddam’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamel.
“I got an essence of who Uday was in my research and my reading and the images I had of him, and yes, I met Latif for hours the first day,” Cooper said. “Completely compelling and let me ask anything and was very open and very giving, but I realized we weren’t doing a biopic and I could take the character anywhere.”