While Dominic Cooper has received rave reviews for much of his previous work in films like The History Boys and An Education, none of them have necessarily been from the actor himself — until now.
“I am for the first time ever very proud of it. You so rarely are,” the 33-year-old British actor says of The Devil’s Double, his new film.
“You look at stuff that you do and you just pick holes in it. You go, ‘It’s all right. It’s just me, being an idiot on the screen, farting around. I can’t believe I got paid for that. Ridiculous.’”
In The Devil’s Double, Cooper takes on the real-life roles of Uday Hussein — son of Saddam — and Latif, an Iraqi soldier pressed into service as Uday’s body double.
“It was difficult doing the third character, which was him impersonating Uday,” Cooper says. “What we do in our ridiculous profession, why would a guy who was a soldier and a good man be able to throw himself into impersonating this horrific monster?”
Horrific monster might be putting it lightly, as Uday’s transgressions, as seen through Latif’s eyes, defy any sense of morality.
“There were no limits to him as a man, as a human being, or to me portraying him. I thought, he didn’t care what he did, he didn’t care how people responded. He’d do what he pleased whenever. So I took the role on like that,” Cooper says.
There are more important reactions than his own to worry about, of course — especially considering Cooper took on the tricky job of playing a different race. “I look forward to hearing people’s reactions from that part of the world, that region,” he says. And they’ve already been rolling in, apparently. “I got a compliment the other guy from a bus who’d only seen the trailer. He leaned out the window and said, ‘Are you that bloke from that trailer?’ He was an Arabic guy, and he was like, ‘You play a really good Arab.’”