Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 2nd 2014 Contents B27
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Forest Whitaker isn t much bothered by being
one of the season s biggest Oscar snubs.
Although he's won an Academy Award and a Gold-
en Globe, it's always been about the craft for the
veteran actor. So repeated comments that he deserved
a nomination for his leading role in Lee Daniels' The
Butler and for Fruitvale Station, which he co-pro-
duced, just roll right off.
"I've been doing this for years and my goal is
purely to expand the human experience, to expand
myself and connection with other people," he said
in a recent phone interview to promote his new film
Repentance. "That's my real goal. It's always nice
when people celebrate me or my work. But that's
not my real marker. It's seems to be more of a marker
Sure, Whitaker was disappointed that Fruitvale
Station wasn't among the nine Oscar nominees for
best picture. But he ulti-
mately felt the film didn't
need a nomination or an
award to validate its suc-
cess. It was "beautifully
done," he says.
"It was some great
performances, and I
think people did
acknowledge my work,"
he said. "As far as nom-
inations, you really just
can't allow yourself to
get caught up. You just
have to see how it flows."
The Butler, Fruitvale Station, Mandela: Long Walk
to Freedom and nine-time nominee 12 Years a Slave
were among last year's bumper crop of acclaimed
films about black racial struggles.
While gratified with Hollywood's attention to these
issues, Whitaker is hopeful black actors will also be
cast in more natural, colourblind roles in films that
go beyond a racial theme or ethnic marketing strat-
"In my career, probably maybe 80 per cent of the
time, I've been playing characters that had no ethnicity
or different culture," Whitaker said. "So I've been
But there's no question Whitaker's characters have
been diverse---from his assassin in 2000's Ghost Dog:
The Way of the Samurai to his Oscar-winning por-
trayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in 2006's The
Last King of Scotland.
Whitaker took on a new challenge in Repentance,
a psychological thriller. He plays bipolar Angel
Sanchez, who seeks private treatment from a spiritual
adviser, then takes him hostage.
It's also one of Whitaker's darkest roles---a "new
territory," as he calls it. To prepare, Whitaker talked
with mental patients and researched books and articles
on the topic.
According to cast mates, Whitaker made it seem
"He was very focused and specific," said Nicole
Ari Parker, who plays Whitaker's wife. "It was almost
easy to be in a scene with him because he was so
powerful. ... It was wonderful."
So is this a colourblind film? Not exactly. The
story is based on Philippe Caland's 2012 film The
Guru and the Gypsy, which featured a cast of mostly
white characters. But Whitaker wanted to remake
the movie with an all-black cast. In addition to
Whitaker and Parker, it stars Anthony Mackie, Sanaa
Lathan and Mike Epps.
"I thought it was a brilliant idea," said Caland,
who directed Whitaker in the 2007 film Ripple Effect.
"It allowed my film to be its own project that became
bigger. He helped reinvent my movie rather than
remake it." (AP)
In this Tuesday,
February 4 photo, actor
Forest Whitaker, who
stars in the upcoming
film Repentance, poses
for a portrait in Los
motivation. He's won
an Oscar and Golden
Globe before, but it's
always been about the
craft for the veteran
actor. AP PHOTO
After Oscar snub...
"I've been doing
this for years and
my goal is purely
to expand the
to expand myself
with other people."
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