"I try to stay true to the character," Whitaker continued. "I try to live in the myth of the man ... the man in himself is mythic. He's larger than when you look at him on tape. When he [tells Nicholas that] 'Uganda embraces you,' that's Idi Amin, because he is Uganda. He's that big. You have a continent embracing you. How do you play that?"
Whitaker joked that gaining the weight wasn't at all difficult. He just "ate food." He added, "It's harder to go the other way!"
Whitaker, who has also directed three motion pictures, including 1995s "Waiting to Exhale," is getting early Oscar buzz for his performance. That's exciting news to him, mostly because it's drawing much-needed attention to a film that is currently in just 113 theaters nationwide.
"I hope [the buzz] will make more people go out and see it, and [enable it to] be put in other theaters and move [it] forward. We'll have to see about the rest because I just want to live in the moment. I'm having a good time. The audience really liked the movie. I'm feeling good."