Dominic Cooper isn’t the first actor you’d think of to play a madman. Until now he’s been known as the cute guy the heroine wants to marry, in the 18th century (The Duchess) and today (Mamma Mia!) All that changes with Lee Tamahori’s fact-based film The Devil’s Double. Cooper gives an amazing dual performance as Saddam Hussein’s deranged son Uday – who rapes and kills on a whim – and as Latif Yahia, a soldier forced to act as Uday’s double.
In our video chat, Cooper talked about meeting the real Latif and how he found a way into the character of the irredeemable Uday.
The film doesn’t shy away from the reality of Uday’s violence (he was killed by U.S. forces in 2003) but the heart of the story is Latif’s struggle with his identity and conscience. Cooper’s sensitive portrayal of the distance between the men – it’s one of the best performances of the year – makes The Devil’s Double much more than a lurid glimpse at a would-be tyrant.
Video edited by TAYLOR LEVY. Additional photography by TAYLOR LEVY and DANIEL SHOGREN.