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Dominic Cooper (with Ludivine Sagnier) in 'The Devil's Double.' Photo: Lionsgate Pictures

British actor Dominic Cooper isn’t exactly a household name but his new film The Devil’s Double – out today (Friday) – has the potential to transform him into a recognizable star.

In an accomplished performance he plays “Black Prince” Uday Hussein – the frequently out-of-control son of the former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein. He was an unstable man and notorious party boy who had an appetite for brutal sex, drugs and violence.

In fact in The Devil’s Double Cooper has two roles – playing both Uday and his body double Latif Yahia. During the film Cooper – through cinema trickery – can be seen on screen playing both men within the same frame.

It’s being seen as a real achievement, showcasing the prodigious talents of an actor perhaps best known for his singing and dancing in Mamma Mia!

Cooper told me the film has changed people’s perceptions. He says: “It’s nice people can see you with a different light and give you the opportunity and chance to do something other than what you were known for before.”

The film is extremely gruesome. There are scenes of blood trickling from slashed writs and body parts hanging from a torso. Much of the carnage stems from Uday Hussein’s impulsive lethal outbursts. Cooper believes the on screen violence is justified. He says, “I think when it’s that raw and visceral it gives you some indication of the man within him.”

These are good times for Cooper – not only does he totally steal the limelight in The Devil’s Double but he can also be seen in the new superhero blockbuster Captain America: The First Avenger playing Tony Stark’s father.

With Oscar buzz already surrounding his Devil’s Double performance, 2011 could really turn into a big year for Dominic Cooper.

See Leah Rozen’s piece on Dominic Cooper in The Devil’s Double.

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By Tom Brook