HBO Films, BBC team on history of Saddam


HBO Films and the BBC are co-producing a four-hour miniseries that recounts the 24-year reign of Saddam Hussein.

The four-part miniseries, titled "Between Two Rivers," will offer a detailed look at the inner workings of Saddam's family and his relationship with his closest advisers and shed light on his 1979-2003 reign as president of Iraq.

Yigal Naor ("Munich") is set to play Saddam, while Oscar-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo ("House of Sand and Fog") will play his wife, Sajida. Another wife, Samira, will be portrayed by Christine Stephen-Daly ("The Bill").

Saddam's half brother Barzan Ibrahim will be played by Said Taghmaoui (the upcoming films "Vantage Point," "Kite Runner"). His sons Uday and Qusay will be played by Philip Arditti ("Really") and Mounir Margoum ("Rue des figuiers"), respectively.

Uri Gavriel ("The Band's Visit") has been tapped for the role of Ali Hassan al-Majid, Saddam's cousin, who also is known as "Chemical Ali." (He was sentenced to death by an Iraqi high court over the weekend.)

His son-in-law Hussein Kamel will be played by Amr Waked ("Syriana"), while Sasson Gabay ("The Band's Visit") will portray Ahmed al-Bakr, Saddam's predecessor as president of Iraq.

Alex Holmes and Jim O'Hanlon are directing from a script by Holmes and Stephen Butchard. Hilary Salmon is executive producing for the BBC. Steve Lightfoot is producing.

The mini starts shooting this summer in North Africa.

Aghdashloo is repped by CAA.

Taghmaoui is repped by Innovative Artists and Vanessa Pereira and Chris Prapha at Artists Independent Management.