Transcript for Forest Whitaker talks about ‘Godfather of Harlem’
- Oscar winner Forest Whitaker is in the house. You know him from hits like Black Panther and Star Wars Rogue One and The Last King of Scotland. Now, he's in The Godfather of Harlem, based on the true story of mob boss Bumpy Johnson. Welcome to the show.
HOST: You're so compelling and convincing in all the roles that you take on but what is it like to tap into the spirit of a mobster? I mean, where do you get that from?
FOREST WHITAKER: Well, you know what, I got to meet with a couple of mobsters that were working with Bumpy Johnson, Chisolm and Junebug. And I got their sort of download of what it's like to-- what it was like, actually, when they were fighting with him. And then of course, like Mamie wrote a book about our exploits in our lives. So you kind of start to take all this information, the research and stuff, pull it together, and then you've got to get the animal, allow it to be alive inside of you.
HOST: You were just telling both of us how just intense it is to play this character. I want to show a clip for a moment of a softer side of Bumpy, where he's talking to his daughter who's a recovering addict.
- I'm going to get some of my men to drive you over there.
- To protect me, or to make sure I don't go back to using duji?
- Maybe a little of both.
- Praise Allah, I have looked the monster in the eye, and I've killed him. You can trust me.
- It's my fault. I got mixed up with the wrong people.
- You're always mixed up with the wrong people.
MICHAEL STRAHAN: And that was your onscreen daughter, but your real-life daughter, True, she had a role on the show. So what's it like for you to watch her follow in your footsteps?
- It was amazing, actually. She auditioned for the show, and she got the part. And it was for a heroin-addicted pregnant woman who was going through withdrawal. And I was looking like, what? This is what-- this is a little difficult. You know? It would've been difficult for me, and I was impressed. I kind of let her have her space in her room, and that's what she wants, and she's been doing some great stuff.
MICHAEL STRAHAN: That's all you need. That's all you need from your daughter, right there.
- You never tried to talk her out of getting into showbiz?
- I did try to. I just wanted her to finish college. She did. She finished at NYU first, and now she's like out auditioning and doing things like that. So she's got to be able to go after what she believes and she's passionate about, or else it doesn't work.
- And I'm curious, does she come to you and say, hey, dad, I want you to read lines with me?
- You know, I try to read lines with her, and she like ignores me. I try to like set up the lights.
- She just doesn't go for it. You know what I mean? And it's been working out for her.
HOST: You also shared the screen this season with Whoopi Goldberg. Talk to us about that.
FOREST WHITAKER: Oh, Whoopi is great. She plays Willa, and she's sort of like my accountant, financial advisor, throughout the whole show. And we have like a really, really close relationship, almost like aunt and son, you know? It's beautiful. She's fun. It's a lot of fun doing work with her.
MICHAEL STRAHAN: Can I tell you, Godfather of Harlem is a must-watch for me. I am completely on it.
Somebody's calling and asking about the show.
HOST: I know. Whoopi is like, make sure my role is in there.
- You all can subscribe.
- I tell you, Forest, I love this show, and you are so incredible. Honestly, one of my favorite shows, literally appointment TV for me. But another show back in the day that was appointment TV for me was Different Strokes, and we've got something with you. It's a little flashback, because we have it right here. Let's check it out.
- Let's get down to business. whatever it is, I'm sorry. I'll never-- I'll never do it again. I swear. It was my fault.
- You didn't do anything.
- I'm sorry anyway.
- Precursor to Bumpy Johnson.
MICHAEL STRAHAN: Yeah, precursor to Bumpy Johnson, but what would you tell that young actor today, from what you know now?
FOREST WHITAKER: I would tell him to continue to believe in what he wants to do, to stick with the kind of roles that he needs to play for his soul and his spirit, and it'll work out.
MICHAEL STRAHAN: And it's worked out for you, man. Amazing.
- Great advice for us all. Thank you so much for coming on today. Season three of Godfather of Harlem is now airing on MGM Plus and Hulu. The season finale is on Sunday.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.