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About The Story
How would you respond to the seductive influence of power? Would you bend or forget your own moral code to achieve it? What happens to someone who starts with good intentions and ends up becoming a blood thirsty individual? These are the questions raised by the gripping thriller THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, which takes audiences on a heart-stopping journey inside the world of one of the most fascinating and frightening leaders of all time: Idi Amin, famed for his electrifying magnetism, yet whose brutal rule left as many as a half million of his countrymen dead.

The film also marks the first wholly dramatic film from Oscar®-winning documentarian Kevin Macdonald. Renowned for his suspenseful filmmaking, Macdonald's previous two films were the breathtaking tale of mountain survival, TOUCHING THE VOID, and the Academy Award®-winning ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER, a searing examination of the terrorist incident at the Munich Olympics. When Macdonald read Giles Foden's prize-winning, fact-inspired novel, The Last King of Scotland, he felt immediately that it had all the high-wire tension of a real-life tale of terror and survival -- along with the human insight and textural richness of a fictional thriller.

"I saw it as a kind of classic story about a young man who sets out looking for adventure, gets far more adventure than he bargained for and, in the process, finds out who he really is,” Macdonald explains.

"In some ways it could be a story about any tyrannical leader anywhere in the world, but I also found it compelling because no one has ever really a done a film like this about Africa.”

Macdonald continues: "I've always been drawn to projects that take audiences to new places, that expose them to worlds they're unfamiliar with and the hope is that even if you've never heard of Idi Amin, you'll leave THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND thinking ‘wow, now that's opened my eyes to something.'”

Many eyes were opened when Giles Foden first published his novel in 1998, winning the prestigious Whitbread First Novel Award, a Somerset Maugham Award, a Betty Trask Award and the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Foden, who moved from England to Africa when he was just five years old and grew up partly in Uganda, had long wanted to write a novel about the strange, terrifying regime of Idi Amin. At last, he found a way past the veils of mythology surrounding Amin and into the intimate heart of the dictator's world – by creating a fictional young doctor who becomes Amin's trusted friend and confidante, only to discover he is trapped in a realm that grows more violent and out of control every day.

Meshing Dr. Nicholas Garrigan's fictional moral dilemmas with shocking real stories from Amin's rule, Foden forged an exciting window not only into Uganda's past but into the very question of how ordinary people react when faced with the worst acts of humanity. He titled the novel The Last King of Scotland after one of Amin's grandiose names for himself. (Amin's other extravagant titles for himself included "Conqueror of the British Empire” and "Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea.”) When producer Lisa Bryer read Foden's book, she saw it right away as having cinematic potential.

"I felt it would fit right into the grand tradition of classic movie thrillers set against a real backdrop, such as SALVADOR and MISSING,” she says. "I thought it had universal appeal -- anyone who loves a good story is going to be drawn into this one. It's also very relevant, because you see this kind of history repeating itself today.” Bryer's partner, Charles Steel, was equally intrigued. "This is a timeless story of a young man going out to seek adventure, losing himself along the way and then finding redemption,” says Steel. "But it also coupled with this fantastic, revealing relationship - almost a love story - between Nichol

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