Corsan makes deal with 'Devil'


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Plans are afoot for a movie based on the real-life story of the double of Saddam Hussein's son, based on the books by Latif Yahia, the man who was forced to become Uday Hussein's double.

The Iraqi dictator, executed late last year, is infamous for assembling doubles of his family to avoid assassination attempts.

Belgium-based production, financing and international sales company Corsan has optioned the rights to "The Devil's Double," based on Yahia's "The Devil's Double" and "I Was Saddam's Son," which have sold more than one million copies worldwide to date.

Yahia, an Iraqi Army lieutenant stationed on the Iranian border, was summoned to Hussein's headquarters and given the option to become Uday's double or die.

Michael Thomas has penned the screenplay adaptation for the €15 million ($22 million)-budgeted movie, which will be filmed predominantly in Spain, Corsan chief Paul Breuls said.

Corsan is "currently speaking with several high-profile directors" for the film and eyeing a summer 2008 shoot start date.

The title will be executive produced by Breuls, Harris Tulchin of Tulchin Entertainment and Arjen Terpstra of Foreign Media Group, and produced by Atilla Meijs and Michael John Fedun of Corrino Films and Emjay Rechsteiner of Staccato Films.

Corsan is repping worldwide sales through its Corsan World Sales arm here at the AFM.

The film also will incorporate details of Yahia's experience after he fled Iraq, when he managed to escape to Europe and refused to become an agent for the CIA, while battling his self-loathing and the imprint of his real-life alter ego Uday Hussein.

"We're excited to adapt and develop such a distinct and promising project," Corsan COO and producer Catherine Vandeleene said. "Yahia's story is a fascinating saga that evolved within the long, deadly regime in Iraq and obviously had a deep impact on his life and the lives of those closest to him."

Added Corrino Films' Michael John Fedun: "Our interest in this project stems from the fact that even though Latif Yahia's humanity was taken away from him, he never gave in to the temptation and opulence that went along with being the 'third son of Saddam Hussein,' and he somehow managed to hold onto his identity even in the face of pure evil."

Breuls and Vandeleene negotiated the deal on behalf of Corsan.