Dominic Cooper talks Politics with Stefan Pape for The Devil’s Double
With the release of ‘The Devil’s Double’, set to hit our screens on August 12th, The Fan Carpet’s Stefan Pape caught up with leading star Dominic Cooper to discuss the political aspects to the feature, and what it was like playing two lead roles, at the same time.
Born in London, England, Cooper has starred in films such as History Boys, Mamma Mia!, and more recently Captain America: The First Avenger, but this latest release is arguably his biggest yet and with a stunning performance as Saddam Hussein’s son Uday and his body double Latif Yahia, this could well be the definitive performance that really kick-starts a very bright future and career for the talented young actor.
I suspect Uday would have really got off on the idea of his life being immortalised in film, I wonder if he will like this film?
No he couldn’t have liked his film; the representation of him is truly grotesque. I dunno, maybe he would have. I think he saw himself in a film most of his life, which I think is why he was able to do the atrocious things he did. I think he saw himself as a gangster in a film. He used to watch Godfather constantly, so I think that’s probably how removed he was from his own thoughts or his own reality, he probably saw his life being played out as a film.
You need to connect with or perhaps attempt to like the character you are playing, but with Uday there really are no redeeming features. How difficult was it, without making him a pantomime villain, to be in the role?
That was a big problem for me right at the start. I had a fair amount of rehearsal time with Lee Tamahori, and it was just talking about that - how am I gong to access these hateful emotions he had sitting within him? How can I physicalise him? How can I be that person? As you say, without finding any redeeming qualities about him, the more I unearth about him, the more I despise him and find him totally, totally vulgar, and I hate him. I suppose that I ended up just thinking why is this person like this? You look at the relationship with his father, and who his father is and how this must have affected him, how powerful and domineering that person in his life must have been. I think his father thought he was a bit of a moron, he certainly didn’t give him any important roles to play in the regime and he didn’t want to give him the reigns of power or hand them over, which I think is a bit insulting in that culture, for the son not to be given that privilege, to step into your fathers shoes. So that gave me some sort of idea of the resentment he felt and trying to find some human aspect to him – his deep love for his mother and the resentment he felt at how his father treated her. Also, what he would have been exposed to as a young man. Uday had been shown images of torture at the age of four or five and constantly exposed to it, so that gave me a sort of understanding of the psyche of the man, the inner turmoil I suppose, not that I sympathised or empathised but at least I knew where some of that rage came from. I never ended up liking him but I wanted to find the comedy aspect of him and the lost child I suppose and I wanted to be able to enjoy it and relish it, to relish being able going that far and being that abusive and carefree in terms of the acting and how he carefree he felt in any environment.
THE DEVIL'S DOULBLE IS OUT AUGUST 12