The Hollywood Reporter spoke to the veteran actor about what drew him to the role and the depiction of the Civil Rights movement.
On what drew Whitaker to the role of Cecil Gaines:
I think that it’s an amazing script, you know? It chronicles such a long period of time. It allows you to understand what it means to try to get social justice, through the eyes of the Civil Rights movement. It allows you to see the different ways that people can pursue making sure that there is social justice, you know? And that’s really interesting. I think, inherently, I was really attracted to the relationship with my son [Gaines' oldest son is played by Daniel Oyelowo] and my wife [Winfrey], that it was a family drama. And as an artist, I knew that would be extremely challenging for me.
On how the movie depicts and teaches today’s youth about the Civil Rights movement:
I think they are tools, and this living history of the Civil Rights Movement is important. One of the big things that it did is it allowed the youth [of today] to see the courage of the youth during that time, and also to recognize that there’s many different paths to get to a better life, a fair and equal life, a just life.
Whitaker also produced this summer’s Fruitvale Station.