Movie star FOREST WHITAKER shocked fans on TV in America on Tuesday (10JAN06) when he showed off his new slim look on hit drama The Shield.

The actor made his debut as Internal Affairs investigator JON KAVANAUGH on the show and many of his fans didn't recognise him in his opening scene because THE CRYING GAME star had lost so much weight.

The 44-year-old star went out of his way to slim down before shooting started on the new season of the gritty cop drama, which stars Michael Chiklis as a rogue detective.

He says, "I got serious about exercising and dieting."

Whitaker explains he combined his love for hiking and martial arts to help him lose the weight.