Forest Whitaker has played some incredible roles in his lifetime but none have scared him as much as playing South Africa’s very own Desmond Tutu.
‘The Forgiven’ a film based on true events showcases a time in South African history and Desmond Tutus. In an interview with AFP at the opening in Europe, Forest Whitaker confirmed he was very intimidated by the role. He was excited about the role and hoped that real life Desmond Tutu would be happy with his performance.
“My voice is very different from his, and then there’s the accent — there was a lot of things that made me be concerned. All caused me great fear,”
“So all I could do was to try to portray the spirit and the soul of this man that was so important to South Africa, and in so many ways to the world.”
The movie was set during the end of Apartheid when Archbishop Desmond Tutu was running the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It showcases his visits Pollsmoor Prison to assess Piet Blomfeld’s candidacy for amnesty. Blomfeld was an ex-security police officer and Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, member.
Blomfeld, played by Eric Bana, was a witness to murders committed during the time of Apartheid. The Archbishop has particularly focussed the murder of the teenage girl. Things take a turn in the movie but no spoilers from us!
The compelling drama/thriller didn’t impress critics all that much but Whitakers time in Africa for his previous role as dictator Idi Amin had a great impact on his life. Through his Peace & Development Initiative, he has worked in South Sudan, Uganda, Mexico, and South Africa, as well as with gangs back home in the United States.
As it turns out, Whitaker’s fears were all unwarranted. Desmond Tutu loved how Whitaker portrayed him in the film.
“He loved the film, which was a great relief for me. He had joked with me before we made it about how we were going to do his nose, we decided not to do very much. We used a fake one.”
You can see a trailer for the movie below. Have you seen the movie? What did you think?