Forest Whitaker: Method Man

The Oscar-winning actor discusses his acting method and how he became "The Butler."
14:34 | 08/22/13

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Transcript for Forest Whitaker: Method Man
-- very popular. Everyone says you're the man cup races and I had no idea who said the Tikrit. I'd like to invite you to -- again next week from the usually. Not as. Not visit Butler Cecil unfunny music guest. But the president further from you soon -- Don't you worry about -- I'll take care of that. So we'll see you next week you and your wife. -- -- It's it's Gloria. Yes. Hi everybody I'm Peter Travers and welcome to popcorn where we tell you do really special things that are happening at the movies and there really is a special thing and it's called Lee Daniels the Butler will get to why it's called Lee Daniels the Butler in -- get. But. I've got the guy who's actually playing the Butler right with me here Forest Whitaker so welcome to show it's great news great to have you. So let's start with that. There's an idiotic question I'd -- to start with idiocy where the Butler was a silent movie so you can use it was -- 1916. Silent film that. Short actually a short -- and if for whatever reason no one of us though that the titles were too because they called -- from the Butler from Butler even though they don't -- any resemblance her. They they protested so we switch the name in the -- which to lead and the public. I say that because unknowingly Daniels I just want to make it clear that he suggest a violent ego maniac who demand. If that fit into the -- because you could've come in and said why is it art Whitaker the violence never before as I'm having the Cecil gains as the character that's. You know and I -- -- the project conservative movements are of the characters and them move move forward Steve that took them. Tell us who SS game to a -- -- he's who gains he. He's sharecropper -- Who moves into Washington DC. And -- -- the Butler for the president actually for the presidents he's -- oil street presence and he -- his history but we what's his feet through these guys. And how to fix him -- Stanley. -- and a movies a lot of of my love between husband and wife love between a father and -- it's about the holding of the family together. And Capellas and -- my son. Mom always -- I want to take care -- you want you to have a decent life better life and my son -- to go to college and -- he's gonna join the civil rights movement. And try to -- and and his things to force him to be a better life for him and all others. So this is a conflict between us between me in my -- But it comes back around the reconciliation of and we are -- We try -- we he'll. And and I guess the way he's trying to heal and I'm trying to heal the country in some ways so as to family Constance fathers nation in Iceland myself. Well because you're seeing it that way you know a long time ago Stephen Sondheim wrote a musical called Pacific overtures and there's a song and -- -- someone in tree. And someone who's reporting what they're hearing -- in the conference in Japan from a trade we will now close enough but they can't. And so we're hearing what we think we here at Cecil is going through that he's a -- he doesn't see it. You know in the Oval Office making decisions but he's hearing -- -- -- he's right there inside privileged to look at history as it's going. -- usage she music as he goes to the -- so listen does that make the decisions of the civil rights movement about about voting rights but all is for things about -- in the surprises but. We see how it affects his life because these decisions and he's -- -- -- in the room he goes back home. And we're dealing with -- or he's in the White House and his sons -- -- closed down on the streets have been arrested he has to go get him out of prison because of the same discussions that are going on. In the backdrop on the -- -- so -- personalize its all these kind of events historical mentally you know to convince them before. But Cecil can't while he's in the -- us. In to see he can't say ET the president all eight presidents and what are you doing. Right at the keys he struggles a lot of times because he's a tenacity -- -- he's himself and totally disagrees with them. I think that his presence though is is it like it mourned king says in the movie that who made the Butler a subversive. You know committing subversive acts because what they're doing is by being in -- presence is -- their dedication dignity. There -- discipline. They changed -- -- -- of people around them and by their mere presence more of that presence can come. The sort of way -- and it's in itself. An action you know civil rights action. My son is on the ground he's protest but -- protests -- quietly in a different way -- -- them you know. There's amazing scene between the two of -- and it's at a dinner table so it's not just the tubular everybody's there but it's about -- party. And the sun is saying he's an uncle Tom but that's the last element of deceased. Like that I'll take a truck from him he's disrespect me because you know these guys had a table -- girlfriend -- you know ultimate digital. Seeing all these sort of things that are almost -- -- -- that he knows me and tries so hard to hold within. And any trying to get in the case -- he's trying to use some -- stress everything. It's always we speaks about someone who's who's playing here is a hero of -- any facility -- To some cases this -- this move forward to -- from fourth images -- their lives. In the innocent parents ultimately wins will not discuss -- -- our mind and take -- can't take this anymore he got to get out. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Top -- that. Cattle he. Community here say what you want you to go. Work. Sorry mister -- I didn't mean to make money -- hero. Between. Now between you have. Cousin we should say of course Oprah Winfrey is playing your -- -- she's playing if this is I've I've read her saying things about how nervous she was. What. It's amazing in this -- You know I mean. She she she. You know there were times which -- -- in the season you know. I'll -- startled by it. Her performance -- tugging -- -- past as. I see some -- and -- like the film you know -- -- strong economic times forgot what. Had argued to a chair and not really -- -- what because she was so true the moment in particular who worked in this -- -- It's beautiful she committed so much. When you're playing -- character like that. And ring to what do you bring from your own self. What in your own upbringing. Can you relate to in terms of who he. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- But I mean it is that -- -- in the sixties right forests a year. You're -- in its 61 yet in your -- so you don't really know what's going on I don't I don't understand it it is completely yet to really you know all those markers like -- -- -- -- -- you know I mean. I mean the Panthers -- how are actively Newton and that -- was -- keeping picked me up they. They knew they offered me go to breakfast program the -- across and so -- remember the rock from what was going on. With -- all of those things I think from -- -- point of view but I but I had an emotional feeling about it. A great pride when I was picked up on the industry because -- guys seem like the strongest guys my name me. If so I do have. My own understanding but I think. There's these two -- you have the sub level my own emotion in the what I did with the movie -- -- -- to lose those things inside the script which can -- strong will host an easy. In the -- and in the elements that happened outside you -- -- -- that things happened that affect us you know. And I start to put those things inside myself and create those things is his real ex priest in my home by. You've gone do you like to she say to you who like talking typical -- -- right now what's going on there used to meet you know like -- and accidents and stuff like that my kids so it. Lines he's doing -- You know -- get some African -- African men on the phone. Definitely didn't. -- -- -- Think god and I and I and I take a lot of cared and two certain parts to keep keep away you know so when they visit it was at this time for an audience that he be there and and also the clean myself. To to most likely myself. -- my -- my children -- the I don't carry two. To our experiences and our love there is no real -- -- gains but there was a Eugene afternoon. -- -- hopeful because I talked to his his his assignment two. I talk to people moon by two some you know at most was hoping to from the White House and another. So I I was able to listen to tapes of him you know talking about -- little bit. But you're known for -- doing so much Reese when you Idi Amin in masking the -- -- you. What you've gone that you would simply absorbing everything that was part of this man in this country need to learn to play the court vacated committee I don't know what you were doing when you ghost dog you know I -- you -- that it all of that stuff with but -- did you do. Research was to play this White House -- By American look at all of the photographs in the time period I read by those -- Alonso feels as an interest -- not really bios and others. You know talking to them about their feelings they give you some of the more private moments like I -- from expect from the families of the butler's father you know -- -- And from from from from a few. This was difficult to get of others to talk about that they can't. It's against the rules wouldn't talk about what happens behind the scenes -- relatively good to talk to one from a moment of privately I mean -- -- information. And then I just. With the with the taken by the lessons and -- -- in doing this that I was able that tough to find. Who Cecil Gaines was you know. In terms of doing the Butler at the same time -- -- producer on fruit for a station gets so you know another really great movies that came out this year they Q how does -- young black -- deal with it. In the day that we live in right now in the press what happens with it I mean you in a minor way but still in -- in a way. I'll work she was -- of shoplifting. -- -- -- -- Shared community in the near the stop and frisk issue when -- feeling -- when that happens when you hear that act. Is it always goes angered him and and I independent and -- you know. Most of those to stop -- prison I think it's nine out of the ten of the stops are and where did it or not the prisons are -- don't ticket them where they arrest them so. I think 99% of don't have weapons so I think there's something NASA be examined. In that area and so it makes you know it's it's it's humiliating thing for someone to to come in do that in this attempted -- -- -- -- for me just spurred me -- -- To action. In this case I talked to them to him in and understood of the what was gonna happen to his own life personally you can be so what he said to me so I mean decisions to -- from -- more active. Approach the settlement have a peace foundation working in this area and so so we start developing certain programs we're going to be implemented across the country and stuff. Cannes film change. People. I believe so. When you allow us to see that humanity. Behind situations people the personal loss this -- -- They knew how do you speak to -- of dialogue. And dialogue -- something can change and certainly when you find out what -- -- -- you believe -- -- whatever means -- -- you can you can -- you can take that acknowledgment. Acknowledgment is the first step toward healing for anything is an acknowledgment that from acknowledged that maybe we can come to an understanding. From the understand we can maybe find. Compassion. And then from that compassion. We can move that into some form of of of forgiveness possibly of yourself or someone else and then we can move -- to the ultimate which is. Ghosts of the piece of what the problems and it's like love. Eliminate fear. And had to live with well. But bishop. Which had taken all of your time for always -- -- song because of my Rolling -- of -- group of -- it is just this segment of something. That I wanna hear you re issue of course it could be something that remind Gypsies. Who don't know it doesn't have to be a whole song you don't have to panic did the was fearless actor in America -- that they -- some of this news that the other. I think it's enough and that won't color -- on their wounds upon. But then -- Hindus and to -- Although he won it -- if. Then -- Full moon. And -- -- off key pollutants. And sad and -- And then. -- And then wound. Unless -- can he passed. And beans -- And since. Bring things. -- -- -- He's just. -- -- And being. And. Now comes back to -- doesn't. In his delayed is that he saw the -- -- your boy into a dad that's what a guy you back him and saying and in salon and maybe went off --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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