He is a Golden Globe® winner, an Oscar® nominee and one of the hottest actors in Hollywood! Forest Whitaker joins Gayle to talk about his newest movie, his childhood and life outside Hollywood.
Forest has received critical acclaim for his role as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in movie The Last King of Scotland, winning numerous awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Actor. Gayle says she's impressed by the way Forest was able to humanize a man who so brutally ruled his country from 1971 to 1979 and ordered the slaughter of 300,000 citizens.
"When I looked at the script, I thought, 'This is an amazing man, this is an amazing character,'" Forest says. "As an artist, it was an opportunity to try to delve into an area I hadn't got to do. Who gets to do a character like this, really? He's a very unique man."
Forest says he is humbled by the recognition he has been receiving for his performance in the movie. He has been nominated for an Oscar for his role. "I feel like every day is an amazing blessing and I'm surprised all the time because more and more great things seem to be happening," he says. "It's like a beautiful time, really."
Forest was born in Texas, but grew up South Central Los Angeles. He says the acting bug didn't hit him until college, although he performed in a few musicals in high school. "I discovered acting actually through music," says Forest, who loved singing as a child. "In order to study voice, you had to take speech and they asked me to audition for a play, and I got the lead in this play."
Even long into his acting career, Forest says his parents had a hard time with his decision to go into the movie industry. "Even maybe 10 years into my acting career, my mom was like, 'Why don't you go back to school, get your degree, go be a doctor?'" Today, Forest says his parents are, of course, very proud and happy for their son's successes.
In the future, Forest says he would like an opportunity to play a character that is rich and complex, that speaks about the struggles that people are going through. "To me, the heroic characters are the people who just go about their day, and struggle through life and just the little things that make them continue on," Forest says. "For me, it's a heroic thing. So I want to continue to play characters that show that—the profound power inside the person; us as individuals."