Herod Sayle is the main antagonist in the Alex Rider novel Stormbreaker. He is named Darrius Sayle in the Stormbreaker film and again serves as the main antagonist.
He is portrayed by Mickey Rourke who also portrayed Whiplash in the film Iron Man 2.
He was one of thirteen children (nine boys and four girls). His father was a failed hairdresser and his mother took in washing. One day, he saved two rich British tourists, by pushing them off the street out of a grand piano which fell out an upper floor window, meaning they would have been killed if Sayle had not saved them, so they enquired about him and found out his poverty, so they adopted him and sent him to school in England. He was severely bullied there, however, the primary bully being Tony Blair, the future Prime Minister of England. Over time, he grew up to hate the school children of Britain. In the film, Sayle's forename is Darrius, and his parents became rich after winning the Lottery.
Since his schooling, he has built a large and successful empire, becoming a multi-millionaire. In the film, he is mentioned to be a multi-billionaire, giving him a similarity to real-life wealthy genius Bill Gates.
Sayle also invented a technique that allows computer components to be developed in non-sterile environments, slashing the price of production. Using this technique, he develops a product called Stormbreaker and is donating a Stormbreaker to each school in Britain in exchange for a British citizenship. However, MI6 is suspicious about his intentions, sending out agent Ian Rider to investigate. After several weeks, Ian Rider sends out an urgent notice, saying that he found something important and needs to contact MI6. However, as he drives back home, Yassen Gregorovich assassinates him. MI6 is even more troubled at Ian Rider's urgent message and his subsequent murder, and desperately needs to know what Ian Rider knew. The police said that Ian died in a car crash and this was the official version but they were ordered to lie by MI6 because then they wouldn't get the assassination and Sayle's evil public.
Ian Rider's nephew, Alex Rider, must step up to the plate. Alan Blunt blackmails Alex into investigating. A month before, Sayle held a contest; the winner would get to stay at Sayle's house and get a tour of the Stormbreaker factory. MI6 sends Felix, the winner of the competition, on holiday in Scotland instead of Cornwall, and sends Alex Rider in under Felix's identity.
Alex Rider investigates the plant and its operations and soon discovers what his uncle had found. Sayle has put a genetically modified strain of smallpox onto all the Stormbreaker computers (which we later discover was supplied to him by the criminal organization SCORPIA in the book Snakehead. The smallpox will be released during the grand opening ceremony. In that ceremony, the Prime Minister will flip a switch, turning all the computers and releasing the smallpox in the process. Sayle then imprisons Alex in a tank with his pet Portuguese Man O' War jellyfish and flies to London to do the ceremony. Alex is left inside the jellyfish tank to either drown or get severely stung by the jellyfish (which would kill him by poison, not electricity). Alex manages to avoid the jellyfish and dives to the bottom of the tank and use a specialized zit cream to melt off the supports of the tank causing it to break and for Alex and the Jellyfish to pour out. Alex is untouched by the jellyfish but instead it lands on Nadia Vole fatally stinging her.
Alex escapes and reaches one of Sayle's airplanes. Mr. Grin, one of Sayle's henchmen, flies Alex to London to the ceremony location (because Alex has a gun on him). Alex flies in using a parachute and fires blindly, destroying the switch seconds before the Prime Minister is about to flip it. Sayle is hit by two bullets, one in his left arm and the other in his shoulder, but he manages to escape. After Alex has a meeting with Mrs. Jones and Alan Blunt, Alex takes a cab to discover that the driver is in fact Sayle. The villain then takes Alex to a tower of his and he shows him a helicopter about to land that will take him into hiding. Just as Sayle is about to shoot Alex, Yassen Gregorovich climbs out of the helicopter and shoots Sayle twice in the back, killing him. Yassen had to kill Sayle because by failing with his plan, Sayle had become an embarrasment to Yassen's employers.