Forest Whitaker Recalls Getting Thumbs Up From David Fincher for First Directing Work

While looking back at one of his first tasks as music video helmer, the ‘Panic Room’ actor praises ‘The Social Network’ director for having ‘a grasp of storytelling and film.’

AceShowbizDavid Fincher helped give his future “Panic Room” star Forest Whitaker his start as a director.

The Oscar winner was just starting out after leaving college and he landed a job at Propaganda Films, where bosses were interested in snapping up a screenplay he had written, and one of his first tasks was directing a music video.

“My first music video was ‘Thanks for My Child’ by Cheryl ‘Pepsii’ Riley and in order for me to be able to do it, they had to assign someone who would oversee, and David was the person that was assigned to oversee my very first music video,” Forest tells Deadline. “I went and shot it, and he came by and gave me the thumbs up.”

And Whitaker admits he has always enjoyed working with Fincher, calling him “a brilliant filmmaker.”

“I’ve worked with so many different types of filmmakers, from the Robert Altmans to the Oliver Stones, Scorseses, Eastwoods and I think that David has a grasp of storytelling and film…,” he gushes.

“I think he’s able to use [technical expertise] to bring out great storytelling, to zero in on something really well, and I really liked working with him.”

During the chat, Whitaker also talks about his critically-acclaimed portrayal of Bumpy Johnson in “Godfather of Harlem“. He explains, “[Johnson]’s a very complicated guy. He was always a leader, I think. He wanted to be a lawyer. He tried to get into law school, they wouldn’t take him because of his color, and he ended up going into the only business that he had access to.”

“He became kind of like a banker, but then at certain times, he’s a poet. He’s a master chess player. He’s a family man, a drug dealer, all of these things. He’s a very complicated character who cares deeply about his family, yet has abandoned his daughter because of her drug addiction, which is another contradiction of the education of [Johnson].”

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