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Morgan Freeman - Idol Chatter
Morgan Freeman - Idol Chatter

HEY, I WANNA CALL YOU MORGAN, MR. FREEMAN, BUT IT SEEMS STRANGE, BECAUSE YOU’RE SO
Old? (laughs) Or because I have such ‘gravitas’, the term they use in Europe about me?

THE LATTER, BABY. BUT ARE YOU EVER JUST A SILLY-DILLY?
Most of the time. So everybody says, “Why don’t you do a comedy?” But nobody hires me to do those because they think I’m so….weighted.

AND DREAMCATCHER, IN WHICH YOU PLAY A DEMENTED, DEADLY COLONEL, WON’T CHANGE MINDS.
He’s crazy as a bedbug! (laugh) The movie’s a sci-fi horror like Aliens.

AND WITH IT, YOU’VE NOW DONE VIRTUALLY EVERY GENRE EXCEPT
Romantic comedy.

RIGHT…I MEAN, SINCE BECOMING A MOVIE STAR IN 1987’S STREET SMART, YOUR MOST ROMANTIC PARTNER HAS BEEN

JESSICA-FREAKIN’-TANDY. SO DO YOU ENVY DENZEL HIS DENZELNESS?
No—I did a love scene in Moll Flanders, and it was cold so we were, like, pants down, dress up. (laughs) So, really, it’s not all that—you’ve gotta WORK at it.

YEAH, BUT WORKING AT IT DOESN’T SEEM TO BE A PROBLEM: BESIDES DREAMCATCHER, YOU’VE GOT TWO MORE FILMS COMING OUT [LEVITY AND BRUCE ALMIGHTY] IN THE NEXT TWO MONTHS. WHERE, AT 65, DO YOU GET THE ENERGY?
Three pictures a year doesn’t really TAKE any energy, because acting itself is not work—it’s more fun than anything else.

YEAH, YOU’VE EVEN COMPARED IT TO A CHILD MAKING MUD PIES.
And a lot of actors hate me for that because it’s like you’re not taking the profession seriously enough. But acting is not digging ditches—and the bucks are gooood. Those who complain are really struggling to find something to complain about.

HOW UN-HOLLYWOOD OF YOUREMINDS ME OF ANTHONY HOPKINS, WHO ALSO SEEMS ADAMANTLY ABOVE IT ALL.
Or somewhere to the side of it, maybe, because it’s hard to think of yourself as being above something that you really, seriously ASPIRE to.

AS A KID IN GREENWOOD, MISSISSIPPI, YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO ACT?
Always—sometimes, I was at the movies every day. So the most fantastic thing in the world is to BE up there after spending your life dreaming about it.

AND WHEN THE GREAT MORGAN FREEMAN NOW SEES HIMSELF UP THERE, DOES HE
No—see, in my 20 years in the theater I never got to see myself except through the reaction of audience, so I was under the impression that I was really hot shit. But the minute you actually SEE yourself, the bubble is burst forever. (laughs)

PLEASETHOUGH HOLLYWOOD’S NEVER GIVEN YOU THAT OSCAR, YOU’RE CONSIDERED ONE OF THE PEERLESS. BUT DO YOU THINKSINCE YOU’RE SO INSANELY CONSISTENTTHAT YOU’RE A TAD BIT TAKEN FOR GRANTED?
Maybe—like Meryl Streep. So I think that COULD become a syndrome—but there are worse things in life.

SO WHAT’S YOUR MOST IMPORTANT FILM?
[The Civil War epic] Glory. It’s history that no one knew anything at all about.

AND YOU’RE NOT JUST A MOVIE ICON, YOU’RE A BLACK MOVIE ICON—THOUGH FOR THE MOST PART, YOU’VE TURNED THE NEAT TRICK OF BEING AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN STAR WHOSE ROLES ARE NOT DEFINED BY COLOR.
Yeah, you know why? I’m just not “professional black”—I don’t’ need to advertise it, to gild the lily. I mean, there are things in Driving Miss Daisy, where there’s a subservient black man—

AND FOR WHICH YOU RECEIVED GRIEF. DID YOU CARE?
No. It was a great role and a great story, and I think most of the country knew men [just like that]—he wasn’t somebody I wanted to forget.

SO DO YOU HAVE ANY BEEFS AT ALL WITH YOUR CAREER?
How could I possibly have a beef? It’s been a nice ride, and I’ll keep going until I just can’t get out of bed.

FABULOUSTHAT’S A WRAP.
Okay—but how much FUN you are.

GOD, YOU ARE, TOOI WAS EXPECTING A LOT MORE….
Gravitas, maybe?

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