Dominic Cooper Devil's Double Interview
Dominic Cooper Devil's Double Interview
How much time did you get with Latif?

Dominic Cooper

I spent about five hours with him when I first got the part, him and Lee. Even in the audition, I spoke to Lee at length about the fact that we should just be creating two characters – when I knew that this wasn't a biographical, detailed account of either man, I didn't necessarily need to sit this man down and grill him about everything. I don't know whether you've met him but he's a huge physical presence and he's scarred, mentally and physically from the incidents that have happened not too long ago. And it's so hard for any of us to really understand what that means, to lose your family, your home and to live through that nightmare. And I suddenly thought, 'Well, I'll talk with him but I'll just let him tell me about whatever he wants to talk about.’ I just felt like it wasn't my place to start scrutinising him. The first thing he said to me was, “I know if I like somebody within the first 30 seconds of meeting them ...” Mildly terrifying.
Did he tell you anything in person that you would have liked to have incorporated into the film but you weren't able to?

Dominic Cooper

The thing is that the horrors of what went on are so unbelievable, we toned down a lot of stuff in the film. Like, Uday's taste and choices in things, it's so ludicrous and the crimes that he committed. So I think they chose very well what to have in. And I was always aware from the beginning that we were absolutely manipulating the truth, it was never meant to be a political rant or a statement about that moment in time, so we could have included more stuff but there was nothing I can think of that he mentioned that should be added.

You know, the film was the film and I didn't want to interfere with that. It was quite a simple – we had a hero and a villain. I just wanted to get an essence of who he was and let him tell me about Uday – it was the only real information that you could get about Uday, apart from images on YouTube, which I found kind of compelling.
What was the hardest scene to film as Uday?

Dominic Cooper

I found the wedding scene really traumatic. I found that scene really moving, because it's that complete abuse of power and actually seeing the happiest day of someone's life being turned into the most despicably depressing day of one's life, I found that really hard. But whether I actually found it hard technically? I mean, I found that hard emotionally.

To be honest, I relished all the scenes. I know that sounds terrible when you're playing such a despicable person but I was so obsessed with the technical side of it and how to get these two characters across – I was so engrossed in the whole process that I took each scene and relished it. I was just playing a villain and a monster and I hated him but I was accessing his emotions on some level. It was thrilling to play him and to have that freedom in a space to go as manic as I pleased. Because that's what he was like, without anyone slowing him down or stopping him because everyone feared him. He was all-powerful and it felt like that performing it and I feel like that was the right feeling to be experiencing.
I was always aware from the beginning that we were absolutely manipulating the truth...
On a similar note, do you have a favourite scene?

Dominic Cooper

Those scenes that you think are the worst, with the party, when they’re all drinking and this man, who he has hated all his life, his father’s best friend, he suddenly takes it all out on him. Not where he’s slashing his bits up but the early part of that scene has this good monologue that he kind of reels off. Michael’s scripts are so precise ... they’re sparse, which allows room to just kind of go off on tangents on your own with the character of Uday. You couldn’t do that with Latif. But I think that was pretty fun. It’s great when you access it, you feel like you may be hitting it and getting it right. You let yourself go.
How does Latif describe Uday? Can he see any shred of humanity or struggle in him?

Dominic Cooper

No, he hates him. He hates him. He changed his life and ruined his life.
Did you go from filming Captain America to Devil’s Double or vice versa?

Dominic Cooper

No, Devil’s Double was completed. I think Captain America and My Week with Marilyn were directly after The Devil’s Double.
So, in that sense, given that Devil’s Double must have been emotionally draining, was it a relief then to go to something like Captain America?

Dominic Cooper

No, I missed the challenge and the excitement of being in and amongst a film set every day. And being part of the creative energy and the decision making and watching things unfold and change, to being on this suddenly very well oiled machine that was going to look incredible and be a fantastic movie. But you come in and you do your bit in the hope that you’re getting it right for the millions of fans that have already got ideas of who this character should be, which is terrifying. More daunting than playing the two guys. I had a fantastic time doing it. Joe Johnston is incredible.
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Content updated: 16/11/2019 05:20

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