LIONSGATE: The Devil's Double starring Dominic Cooper

The hype has begun for this new dramatic film "The Devil's Double" starring Dominic Cooper, a thirty-three year old British actor in his first leading role in a major motion picture. I had the opportunity to pre-screen this film and was actually surprised at how under-rated his acting ability truly was from years past. Cooper not only played both main characters: Uday Hussein, sadistic son of Saddam Hussein, but he was also given the part of Uday's double, Latif Yahia who in fact wrote two books of his double days in Baghdad as a fiday aka "bullet catcher" for Uday Hussein in the 1980's. Cooper states that even that was not entirely correct because he had to be Uday and Latif, and he had to be Latif playing Uday. This is all based on a true story that Yahia wrote that gave me some insight into the shameless and sinful world of fast cars, dirty endless money, degraded women, and absolute corruption. Yahia was exposed to much brutality and was made captive. His family continuously threatened to be killed, which made me wince throughout the film because countless times he was beaten and tortured to oblivion. I wondered how the heck he was ever going to get out of this situation.

Although the film was not supposed to be a documentary, Yahia was on the set to consult during the making of the film. He states that the experience was cleansing and overpowering. Something was relieved from inside and the sadness that he had felt before long gone. Because his story was actually being told from his own perspective, sharing it gave him such a release. He could not truly see himself until he was shown what he was and had become. It wasn't until he watched the movie come to life that he was seeing for the first time lucidly and impartially the kind of life he had. Yahia actually took valium to watch some of the scenes, especially the shootings. Yahia, a lieutenant in the Iraqi army was summoned by the "Black Prince" Uday Hussein, who truly was the devil's advocate, with his recklessness, sadistic-brutal rapings and murderings, tortured everyone he came across. Due to Yahia's and his family's lives at stake, he was forced to surrender himself and abandon his own life for the life of this depraved psychotic. With one bad move that could cost him his life, he gambled it by having an affair with Latif's mistress Sarrab, played by french actress Ludivine Sagnier, who also had demons of her own to deal with. As the war in Kuwait rises, Uday's sadistic antics, rantings and unsatisfied needs continued forth and Latif realized that escape from the devil's grip would only come at the most extreme cost.

The biggest obstacle for Cooper, when it came to Uday, was that he detested the man. He states, "there was nothing that I could see in him that I could latch on to and like. It was beyond my capabilities to get into the mindset of a man who did the things he did." Nevertheless it was the dysfunctional father/son relationship between Saddam and Uday that gave Cooper empathy towards him. He tried to put himself in Uday's shoes imagining the rejection he must have felt. As the eldest son of Saddam Hussein; a sadist himself, and not having his father's trust, he initally gave him no power whatsoever. Being brought up in such a barbarous and unmerciful enviroment, and to meet his need to make an impact for himself and his namesake, Uday lived his life in very morbid ways after he could not achieve it politically.

Lionsgate felt it apparent from the beginning that both roles of Uday and Latif would be played by one actor. The film as a whole concentrated on the performances of the three: the actor as Latif, the actor as Uday, and as Latif impersonating Uday, which at times were comical as well as fantastic. It was a feat for Lionsgate to find someone who could fill both shoes who had both the discipline to handle the demanding production and the range of both characters to be credible. Dominic Cooper himself was drawn into the dual roles as soon as he finished reading the script. He states, as an actor he couldn't have asked for more in terms of range in playing two lead characters who are completely opposite one another, that later meet in the middle and merge together.

When the movie ended, I felt a sense of satisfaction for Yahia. Not to give the ending away, so as you will have to see the movie out July 29, 2011. In the bathroom I listened to some of the other women giving their own personal reviews. Yes the movie was dramatic and riveting, yes the acting was credible, and yes the story line was indeed interesting and moving. I personally would recommend watching this movie, maybe not for children because it was given an R rating for strong, brutal, bloody violence and torture, sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and pervasive language. But this movie called for all of the above mentioned to give it's rating because how else is Lee Tamahori, the director going to bring you this true story as it so happened? I don't like films that go half assed or are sugar coated to make people happy. This is a depiction of what happened to Latif Yahia whether it be good or bad, it's his life told through his eyes, a window of the horrific life he led as "the devil's double."


Dominic Cooper:Uday Hussein/Latif Yahia
Ludivine Sagnier:Sarrab
Raad Rawi:Munem
Philip Quast:Saddam Hussein/ Faoaz
Mimoun Oaissa:Ali
Khalid Laith:Yassem Al-Helou
Dar Salim:Azzam
Nasser Memarzia:Latif's father


Director: Lee Tamahori
Producers: Paul Breuls
Michael John Fedun
Emjay Rechsteiner
Catherine Vandeleene
Line Producer: Guy Tannahill
C0-Executive Producers: Harm Mulder
Sjef Scholte
Executive Producers: Harris Tulchin
Arjen Terpstra
Based on the life story of: Latif Yahia
Written by: Michael Thomas
Casting: Amy Hubbard
John Hubbard
Cinematographer: Sam McCurdy, BSC
Composer: Christian Henson
Editor: Luis Carballa
Hair & Make-Up: Jan Sewell
Costume Designer: Anna P. Sheppard
Production Designer: Paul Kirby


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