Monday, August 22, 2005

Idi Amin and "The Last King of Scotland"

Kevin Chaffee:

The family of late Ugandan dictator Idi Amin has threatened to sue the producers of the "The Last King of Scotland," the film version of the acclaimed novel about the notorious despot's rule.

Idi Amin's eldest son,Taban Amin, said the family deserved millions in compensation for the depiction of his father in the movie, which wrapped up on-location shooting in Uganda earlier this month.

He said the family -- consisting of his prolific father's 42 children and several widows -- would seek $4 million to $5 million from Cowboy Films, which is producing "Last King" with Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin.

"We shall never allow anybody to play around with our family and our dad," Taban Amin told Agence France-Presse Saturday from his home in Kampala, adding that the compensation suit would be brought in France, where many of his father's brood now live.

Taban Amin said his family had never been asked for permission to use their father's name or image "because they thought that we as Africans don't know that this is a prerequisite."

Taban Amin, who returned to Uganda from exile last year after the 2003 death of his father in Saudi Arabia and is now an official in the country's Internal Security Organization, also said the film contained "outrageous allegations" about Idi Amin, whose brutal 1971-1979 rule was punctuated by bizarre behavior and the deaths of up to half a million people.

"These actors have been depicting my father as eating people," Taban Amin said, referring to persistent allegations of cannibalism leveled at the dictator. "I was with him for many years, but I never saw any human flesh."

Charles Steel, the producer of the film, told AFP by telephone from London that he was unaware of any plans by the Amin family to sue for compensation or defamation.

Between 300,000 and 500,000 Ugandans were killed and the country's entire Asian population was expelled during Idi Amin's despotic rule, the height of which is covered by "The Last King of Scotland."

The title refers to the dictator's stated desire to take over from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as monarch of the Scots, and the film tells the story of Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan, who becomes his physician.

Flattered at first by his command appointment, Dr. Garrigan is horrified to discover his unknowing complicity in Amin's actions.

My brutal muse

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Dead Cannibal


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