Total Film

FOREST WHITAKER

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The screen legend on Respect, Rogue One and Robin Williams.

I love Jim [Jarmusch]. Him and I met at a video sound place. We decided we’d work together. A year later, he called and said he found something. Then we just talked for hours on end. He went off and wrote this thing. That was an amazing experience, to create a character with the filmmaker in that way.

You worked with Robin Williams on

What’s your favourite memory of him?

Good Morning, Vietnam.

Robin was somebody who, when he heard a lot of stimulus, would get it translated right away into comedy. You’d be on a bus with him. Somebody would be saying one thing, somebody would say another thing. By the time we got off, he’d be telling the story to the next group including all the things we just went through. He was a brilliant man and a kind soul.

What was your highlight of working on

Rogue One?

I’m a big fan of sci-fi. So to be there and seeing these characters come to life, it’s fun. There’s a magic to the room you’re in, to the equipment, to the hologram you’re supposed to be looking at.

You won an Oscar playing Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in

What was it like portraying someone so terrifying?

Scotland.

He was a guy who liked to play the accordion, you know? He liked to party. He was exhilarati­ng. I played other characters that were more emotionall­y difficult for me to carry around. He was somebody who expressed himself. It wasn’t a painful journey, just a full one.

It must have been pretty special working on

Black Panther…

It was exciting. I was doing the waterfall scene and we were initiating the next king. It was really empowering to see everybody singing. I was really happy to see Ryan [Coogler] directing a film of that magnitude. My company had produced his first film, Fruitvale Station.

The last film you directed was

in 2004. Do you have any plans to return to directing?

Daughter

The Last King Of

First

I’ve been thinking about directing lately, a lot. There’s a couple of things I had developed before that I was wondering if I’m going to step into. I think we’ll see me directing in the next year or two. AL

ETA | 10 SEPTEMBER / RESPECT OPENS IN CINEMAS THIS SUMMER.

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