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Barry Keoghan set to star in Amo Saddam from Chernobyl director Johan Renck
19 Feb 2024 : News Desk
Barry Keoghan
Barry Keoghan has been cast in Amo Saddam, a film following the final days of Saddam Hussein.

IFTA winner Barry Keoghan will star in Amo Saddam, a new film from Chernobyl director Johan Renck about the final days of Saddam Hussein. Keoghan will play an American soldier tasked with guarding the Iraqi dictator in the months before his trial and execution.

The synopsis for Amo Saddam is described as follows: “In the six months preceding Saddam’s execution, our soldier grows close to Saddam, sharing the stale air of a bombed-out palace turned into a high-security prison whilst navigating the fine line separating fact and fiction.”

Darby Kealey (Patriot) adapted Will Bardenwerper’s book The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid for the screen. The book is an account of 12 U.S. soldiers who guarded Hussein through his trial for crimes against humanity.

The film is a co-production of Fremantle, and Renck and Michael Parets’ Sinestra banner. Fremantle have a first-look deal with Sinestra. Author and Airborne Ranger-qualified infantry officer Bardenwerper will executive produce. Amo Saddam is currently in pre-production, with filming set to begin in Autumn 2024.

“Barry has proven himself time and time again to be an actor who is so adept at playing really complex characters and we couldn’t be happier having him as our lead for what is going to be a challenging, ambitious and hopefully really special film,” said producer Parets of Keoghan’s casting.

The role of Saddam Hussein has not yet been cast, with director Renck looking for an actor from Iraq who speaks Arabic and “can authentically embody the role”.

Renck’s previous work includes directing episodes of Chernobyl, Breaking Bad, and Bloodline. His most recent film Spaceman will have its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival this week.

IFTA Q&A Series: Joanne O’Brien on Costume Design
IFTA Q&A Series: Eleanor Bowman on Cinematography
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