Total Film

Forest Whitaker

The Oscar winner on Marvel, meditating, and Robin Williams…


Ever since making his big-screen debut in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Forest Whitaker has proved himself to be one of Hollywood’s most wildly eclectic actors. Whether it’s starring in independen­t films (The Crying Game, Ghost Dog) or epic blockbuste­rs (Rogue One, Black Panther), the Oscar winner is a quietly commanding presence. Next up is Respect, a musical biopic about the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

What appealed to you about playing C.L. Franklin, Aretha Franklin’s father?

He’s a complicate­d guy; overbearin­g, charismati­c and intolerant. Loving of his daughter, but controllin­g of her as well. He went on a journey of allowing people to be who they really are. I was excited about the opportunit­y.

What research did you do for the role?

I read books about him. I learned his sermons. I listened to his style of preaching. I talked to preachers about delivery. Then I stored myself up with all the emotional stories the character needed in order to be portrayed properly.

The Crying Game

was one of the most talked-about films of the ’90s. Do you still look back on it fondly?

I do! Neil Jordan is a really talented filmmaker. It was a great experience. It also let people know a little bit more about my craft, that I could play this character. People thought I was British at that time. They were like: “God, this guy has a great American accent!”

What did you enjoy the most about starring in

Ghost Dog?

I meditated a lot when I was working on that part. That was something I enjoyed.


 ??  ?? Forest Whitaker will star as father C.L. in the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect.
Forest Whitaker will star as father C.L. in the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect.

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