The easiest way to describe 'Devil's Double,' Lee Tamahori's disturbing film about Saddam Hussein's sociopathic son Uday and his reluctant (to say the least) body double, Latif Yahia, is to call it "'Scarface' in the Middle East." But like any easy description, that one doesn't tell the whole story: unlike Tony Montana, Uday Hussein was born in full possession of the world -- or at least the part of it his father ruled -- and his richly deserved comeuppance didn't come until long after the story had ended. (The film is set during the first Gulf War, and Uday was killed by U.S. forces in 2003).
Yahia, for his part, never wanted to be the bad guy. He was forced to serve as Uday's fiday -- which means "body double, or bullet catcher," as the real Yahia explains in this AOL original video. To make him more like his evil doppelganger, Yahia's captors performed surgery on his jaws and teeth and compelled him to adopt Uday's tastes in everything from cigarettes to torture.
'Devil's Double' can feel shaggy at times, as movies based on true stories often do, but there is no denying the power of Dominic Cooper's twin performances, as Uday Hussein and Yahia Latif. It's a major advance beyond his hip-shaking turn in 'Mamma Mia,' and he knows it: "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," Cooper told Moviefone last month. One suspects that, next time, he won't have to try so hard to be taken seriously.
There's no happy ending for Yahia, however, who was forced to flee Iraq 20 years ago and felt anything but relieved when Uday finally met his demise. "I want to see Uday Hussein in court," he says in the video. "This man, he killed my personality."
Related: Dominic Cooper on 'The Devil's Double,' Playing Iron Man's Dad and Being the Next Vampire Heartthrob