Forest Whitaker was amazed when he researched his role as Idi Amin in upcoming movie THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, as it opened his eyes to the murderous dictator's good points.

The 44-year-old PHONE BOOTH star insists the late Ugandan leader - who brutally tortured and massacred up to half a million people between 1971 and 1979 - may have been a crazed killer, but he wasn't all bad.

He says, "I'm not trying to defend Amin - the Amin I found was not a good man, but not the monster as presented.

"When I first decided to act Amin, I had that perception of Amin as presented by the West. After I started (researching) his rule and his life, what was being portrayed in the West was not his real image.

"Now, I have come to appreciate and understand why he made certain decisions at certain times. He did things like other big men who did things that helped their countries."

Idi Amin was exiled to Saudi Arabia in his later years and was accepted into their society thanks to his Muslim faith. He died of multiple organ failure in 2003.