“The Last King of Scotland” cost just $9 million, but Macdonald could have had a bigger budget from other financiers if he hadn’t been so keen to make the movie with Fox Searchlight.
“A lot of decisions that came out of that lack of money were very productive for the film –doing it in Uganda with local talent, taking a very small crew and training people up locally. That gave (the film) an unusual, different texture, something rather strange. There’s a lot of production value in the landscape. And we shot on 16mm, which adds to the novelty of the film, the sense that it adds to the sum of cinematic experiences.”
The pic mingles fiction with fact in a way that Macdonald, himself an Oscar-winning documentary maker, admits some viewers find confusing.
“That’s not common in cinema, though it is in literature,” he comments. “But I certainly felt comfortable being able to do an element of research. It gave me something to hold onto, especially when I was filming in Uganda. Reality was my starting point, capturing a particular sexy East African look of the time.”