Panorama’s beguiling Devil
by Boyd van Hoeij
11/02/2011 - British actor Dominic Cooper (Mamma Mia! [trailer], An Education [trailer], The History Boys [trailer]), plays the kind of juicy double role actors rarely get in The Devil’s Double [trailer], a Belgium-funded English-language feature about the man who became the body double for the son of Iraqi dictactor Saddam Hussein.
The film is based on the amazing true story of Latif Yahia, who had the bad fortune of looking very much like Uday, the son of Saddam Hussein. He was forced to work as a double for the cruel Uday, and later wrote a book about his experiences. Michael Thomas’s screenplay is based on his book.
The film was directed by New-Zealander Lee Tamahori, who normally tackles bigger films such as Once Were Warriors and James Bond entry Die Another Day, but who here shows he can also make a character drama against an explosive background that works.
Since the characters of Uday and Latif are almost diametrically opposed, Cooper, who plays both, has a lot to get his teeth into. “The more you work on it, the more distinction you get between the characters,” commented Cooper, who used a different pitch for each man’s speaking voice as well as some minor prosthetics and false teeth to ensure the audience knew when they we watching which character.
The production company behind the film, Corsan, is directed by Belgian producer-director Paul Breuls. He produced the film alongside colleagues from Corrino and Staccato, both from the Netherlands. The Belgian Tax Shelter and the Netherlands Film Fund back the film financially.
The film was mostly shot on location in Malta, which doubled for Iraq, with some work done in Jordan.