He stars in The Butler, a film based on the real life story of Eugene Allen who served at the White House under eight U.S. presidents. Oprah Winfrey is a co-star.
At the screening, ABC7'S Janet Davies asked Whitaker what the role meant to him.
"This is a gift from the universe to me. Any actor would want to play I think a character with the kind of depth and range," said Whitaker.
Whitaker described Winfrey's performance as "amazing."
The Butler opens August 16.