Forest Whitaker Forest Whitaker has got this knack for taking huge figures from history and portraying them as complex, fascinating, sometimes really fragile people. You've seen him as the star of countless great movies for over thirty years now. He has won plenty of awards including an Academy Award for best actor for his role as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. When we spoke last year, he portrayed Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the film The Forgiven. Forest chats with Jesse about getting to know Archbishop Tutu as a character and a friend over the years. Plus, hot takes on box-office flop Battlefield Earth! This interview originally aired in March of 2018
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Forest Whitaker

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 27: Forest Whitaker attends the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) "Place for Peace" at Gotham Hall on September 27, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative) Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Whitaker Peace hide caption

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Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Whitaker Peace

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 27: Forest Whitaker attends the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) "Place for Peace" at Gotham Hall on September 27, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative)

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Whitaker Peace

Forest Whitaker has got this knack for taking huge figures from history and portraying them complex, fascinating, sometimes really fragile people. You've seen him as the star of countless great movies for over thirty years now. He has won plenty of awards including an Academy Award for best actor for his role as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland.

When we spoke last year, he portrayed Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the film The Forgiven directed by Roland Joffe, who also made the classic 1984 film The Killing Fields.

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The Forgiven takes place in South Africa, just after apartheid. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is in full swing- holding public and private testimony from the victims and perpetrators of past wrongs. Archbishop Tutu was the chairman of the commission, appointed by Nelson Mandela himself.

Whitaker chats with Jesse about Tutu's struggle to love the most heinous of criminals and how he himself struggles to love people that have hurt him. He talks about the origin of his movie Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and what he learned about acting while playing the title role. He also explains why he stands by his movie Battlefield Earth – despite the many haters ready to poke fun about how bad the film was.

These days you can see Forest on the television show The Godfather of Harlem, which is wrapping up its first season on Epix. He plays Bumpy Johnson, the real life mob boss who operated in Harlem in the first half of the 20th century.

This interview originally aired in March of 2018