Forest Whitaker turns down chance to play President Barack Obama

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Forest Whitaker arrives at the premiere of the movie 'The Butler' during the 39th Deauville American Festival on August 30, 2013 in Deauville, France. (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)

Forest Whitaker arrives at the premiere of the movie 'The Butler' during the 39th Deauville American Festival on August 30, 2013 in Deauville, France. (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)

Forest Whitaker is really in demand these days.

Following his starring role in the hit film The Butler, he has been cast to play Colin Powell in an upcoming biopic. According to recent reports he was even once approached to play President Barack Obama.

“I was asked if I would play President Obama in My Name is Khan,” Whitaker told The Indepedent. “I didn’t feel comfortable with doing it. Partly because he was still in office, but mainly because I felt that there were other people who were better suited to doing the role.”

The little-seen film was released in 2010 and Christopher B. Duncan of Vernoica Mars fame wound up playing the president in the movie.

For his part, President Obama is a big fan of Whitaker’s. He recently admitted that the actor’s performance in The Butler moved him to tears.

“I teared up thinking about not just the butlers who worked here in the White House, but an entire generation of people who were talented and skilled. But because of Jim Crow and because of discrimination, there was only so far they could go,” the president said. “And yet with dignity and tenacity, they got up and worked every single day and put up with a whole lot of mess because they hoped for something better for their kids.”