11/12/2013 01:15 pm ET

Forest Whitaker Turned Down Obama Role in 'My Name Is Khan'


In an interview with The Independent, Forest Whitaker said that he was once offered the chance to play Barack Obama on film, but turned down the opportunity.

"I was asked if I would play President Obama in 'My Name is Khan,'" Whitaker told the publication. "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 2010 film would eventually cast Christopher B. Duncan in the role of President Obama. (For his part, Whitaker was hoping Will Smith would play the part.) Duncan, whose most famous role was that of Clarence Wiedman on the television series "Veronica Mars," has impersonated Obama before, including for Jay Leno. (Video of Duncan's Obama impression is below.)

Despite the missed opportunity, a connection between Whitaker and Obama still exists. The actor starred in "Lee Daniels' The Butler," a film that President Obama said made him cry.

"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."

For the full interview with Whitaker, head to The Independent.

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