Mike Fleming

Deadline revealed Wednesday, January 26 that Lionsgate was in exclusive negotiations to acquire the Sundance Film Festival drama The Devil’s Double. It took a week to make it official. It was regarded by festgoers as a return to form for director Lee Tamahori, in what was his first real independent effort since his sensational breakthrough film Once Were Warriors. Here’s the news:

Santa Monica, CA, February 03, 2011– LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF), a leading diversified independent studio, today announced that it has acquired North American distribution rights along with motion picture production and financing company, HERRICK ENTERTAINMENT to THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE following its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Starring Dominic Cooper (AN EDUCATION, CAPTAIN AMERICA) and Ludivine Sagnier and directed by Lee Tamahori (ONCE WERE WARRIORS, DIE ANOTHER DAY), THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE is a dynamic and chilling portrayal of Latif Yahia’s autobiographical novel. The film was adapted for the screen by Michael Thomas (LADYHAWKE, THE HUNGER), and produced by Corsan’s Paul Breuls and Catherine Vandeleene, with Corrino Media Group’s Michael John Fedun and Stacatto’s Emjay Rechsteiner. Harris Tulchin of Tulchin Entertainment and Arjen Terpstra are executive producers.

The announcement was made jointly today by Joe Drake, Lionsgate Chief Operating Officer and Motion Picture Group President, and Jason Constantine, Lionsgate President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions and Norton Herrick, Chairman/CEO of Herrick Entertainment, a leading motion picture and theatrical production and financing company, to jointly acquire the film. THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE made its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, January 22nd.

Said Constantine, “Lee Tamahori has directed a brilliant film that falls squarely in the Lionsgate sweet spot. The film is original and edgy, with both style and substance in droves. It takes the audience to an unforgettable world, and it features not one but two star-making performances from Dominic Cooper.” Added Drake, “Our theatrical team is uniquely suited to market and distribute this film in a smart, targeted way to a global generation that’s hungry for powerful stories.”

Said Herrick, “We were captivated by this film at Sundance. Corsan has done a masterful job. THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE is an electrifying film that will have people talking well after seeing the film. Herrick Entertainment is pleased to be able to bring it to audiences with Lionsgate.”

Said producer Paul Breuls, CEO of Corsan, a Belgium based feature film production, development, finance and distribution company, “Mr. Tamahori and Mr. Cooper’s collaboration has resulted in an innovative and electrifying film, and an unprecedented performance by Mr. Cooper. We couldn’t be prouder to have produced and financed this film and we’re ecstatic to have Lionsgate as our partners to bring this riveting film to the North American market.”

The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Constantine, Eda Kowan, Lionsgate Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, and Wendy Jaffe, Executive Vice President Business & Legal Affairs, Acquisitions and Co-Productions, and for Herrick Entertainment by Norton Herrick and Mickey Mayerson of Loeb & Loeb LLP.

The deal was negotiated by the Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group and Creative Artists Agency, along with Harris Tulchin, who negotiated the deal on behalf of Paul Breuls. Corsan is represented by Paradigm and star Dominic Cooper is represented by CAA. Paradigm also arranged financing for the picture.

About THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE

The year is 1987 and Baghdad is the playground for the rich and infamous- where anything can be bought, for a price. When army lieutenant, Latif Yahia (Dominic Cooper), is summoned from the frontline to Saddam’s palace, he is faced with an impossible request – to be Iraq’s notorious Black Prince Uday Hussein’s ‘fiday ,’ his body double. With his family’s lives as well as his own on the line, his fate is decided. Latif begins his journey as Uday Hussein, a man as widely hated as he is powerful. As he learns to walk, talk and act like Uday, he experiences the extravagance of a world filled with fast cars, endless money, easy women, and deeply depraved violence. Knowing who to trust becomes a matter of life or death, as he battles to escape from his forced existence alongside Sarrab (Ludivine Sangier), Uday’s notorious concubine. In a dynamic and chilling portrayal of Latif Yahia’s autobiographical novel, THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE charts one man’s struggle in a world of bloodlust, power and seduction.