Forest Whitaker and Oprah

5 of 9
In order to prepare for the challenging role, Forest says he immersed himself in as much of Amin's life as possible. "I pretty much lived in that energy for the whole time I was [in Africa], trying to soak up everything."

Forest says capturing specific characteristics of Amin were crucial to creating an accurate portrayal. "I started working on the accent," Forest says. "I started working on Kiswahili. I started studying tapes and documentaries—there's a lot of stuff because he really liked the press. I went to Uganda and I met with his brothers and sisters, some of his ministers, generals, and so many other people in Uganda. It wasn't that long ago—it was just in '79—so people have direct experience."

"I didn't want to play a character that would make them feel like I didn't understand their culture, the person, the man, because he's very important to the Ugandans and to the African continent."
FROM: What's the Buzz? Salma Hayek, Forest Whitaker and John Legend
Published on September 21, 2006