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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview With Morgan Freeman
Aired September 23, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, the interview I'd been waiting for, Morgan and Morgan.
Here you are, Morgan Freeman.
MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR: Yay!
MORGAN: My hour with the great Morgan Freeman, from "Glory" and "Driving Miss Daisy," "Invictus" and "Shawshank Redemption," an extraordinary 40-year career.
His first proper love scene.
FREEMAN: He gets up and plants one right on my lips. A good one, you know. And I was so surprised that the reaction on my face was -- Bob says it was priceless.
MORGAN: Very strong feelings about race and the state of his country.
FREEMAN: That's stated policy. Publicly stated. Is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term. Screw the country. We're going to do whatever we can to get this black man out of here.
MORGAN: And the Morgan Freeman you really don't know.
FREEMAN: Play golf with one hand.
FREEMAN: Yes. I can drive a ball 180 yards.
MORGAN: This man can do just about anything. I'll have to ask him to do me a personal favor.
FREEMAN: I'm going to do this one more time, but after this I get paid. Right?
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: Morgan Freeman is a man of great stature, a man of great talent and as I have come to realize, he's also a great man of his word. A few months ago, he promised he'd join me in the studio, face- to-face for a one-on-one interview. And here you are, Morgan Freeman.
MORGAN: An actor keeping his word.
MORGAN: I'm stunned.
FREEMAN: Yes. You want to talk about how it came about.
MORGAN: Well, I know this has nothing to do with me. It has something to do with one of my very attractive booking team, right?
FREEMAN: Yes, yes. I must admit. Most stunning woman I've ever met.
MORGAN: Well, don't say that--
MORGAN: Please don't say that.
I also said when I interviewed down the line remotely by satellite, that you appear to be remarkable youthful for a man of your -- let's be honest -- fairly advanced years. And here you are in the flesh, and you're even more youthful in the flesh. What is the secret of the Morgan Freeman age-defying process?
FREEMAN: Got to be genes, because I don't really do anything else.
MORGAN: You do not?
FREEMAN: No, it's got to be the genetic structure.
MORGAN: I have noticed, as you've been laughing, that you seem to have a new set of nostrils (ph).
FREEMAN: I have a new grill.
MORGAN: They're perfect.
FREEMAN: My teeth were moving. They were changing, like, by the week.
MORGAN: You've never -- you've never, you know, been under the sculptor's knife?
FREEMAN: No, no, no, I'm afraid of knives and stuff like that.
MORGAN: You're frowning quite naturally. There's no sign of Botox. FREEMAN: I've had those since I was a teenager. But I work out sometimes, you know. I still try to keep nearly fit. And that's helpful. I'm terrified of losing muscle and bone.
And if you don't work out, that's exactly what you're going to lose. You know, you lose muscle and your bones start to shrivel, you get all kinds of things wrong with you. So I work out a little bit, just because I'm very vain.
MORGAN: Are you vain?
MORGAN: I remember your ex-wife saying that you weren't a narcissist, but you had a very big ego.
FREEMAN: Well, no, I'm not a narcissist. I don't think I have that much of an ego, I really -- I really don't. But I studied dance for a long time, in my 20s.
And it's -- when I was studying dance, I remember my instructor saying, when we were -- when you're dancing, he said, you know, admire yourself. So I learned from that, yes, admire yourself. Because if you don't, then you don't really care that much how you look.
MORGAN: And also if you're in the business where your appearance is part of your business, you have to be vain. And you have to have an ego. You have to -- you have to walk on set and believe you're pretty good.
FREEMAN: Yes, right.
MORGAN: Exude that air, don't you?
FREEMAN: Well, I try to -- you know, I just did a movie where I was a lady's love interest. And I don't think I've ever done that before.
MORGAN: You played a lady's love interest, finally?
MORGAN: I didn't think you'd ever play that kind of role.
FREEMAN: Me, either. But--
MORGAN: What made you crumble?
FREEMAN: Well, it just -- it came my way, you know, and it -- have to wait until I'm at this advanced age--
MORGAN: I'll tell you -- you're 74 years old. I find that incredible to believe.
FREEMAN: Well, I was born on--
MORGAN: You look younger than me.
FREEMAN: -- June 1st in 1937, or so my mother tells me. And I believe her. She's never lied to me.
MORGAN: Tell me, just rewind back to this love interest role?
FREEMAN: Yes. Well, it's the movie I did with Rob Reiner.
MORGAN: Did you like playing a romantic lead finally?
FREEMAN: Yes, yes. I didn't think I would, but it was great fun. I was working with this wonderful actress, Virginia Madsen. And, why, she was just delicious.
MORGAN: So have you finally performed your first love scene?
FREEMAN: Kind of. Yes.
MORGAN: How is that? I mean, you've made movies--
FREEMAN: I know, it was a big surprise to me, is what it was. That's not what it was. It was, you know, I didn't know that it was going to be a love scene.
MORGAN: Fantastic, talk me through it, Morgan. Go on. So finally, at 74 -- you made movies that have grossed $3 billion -- you've finally succumbed to a love scene. Talk me through it.
FREEMAN: Well, we had this scene where we're talking together, and then she's been off to have this -- trying to get settled with her ex-husband. She has three daughters, and I've been babysitting for them while she was off in the city.
And, you know, she's supposed to get up and come and give me a kiss on the cheek, you know, the -- and, instead, she gets up and plants one right on my lips, a good one, you know. And I was so surprised, me, me, that the reaction on my face was that -- Rob says it was priceless. So...
MORGAN: What was going through your mind? I mean, you think it's never too late for this kind of thing? Were you excited by it?
FREEMAN: I was -- I was stunned, really, I really was. It was just, you know, Virginia's a very attractive lady, and, you know, we were doing fine in the scene, and then the whole movie was just going along. There's--
MORGAN: So it was an unscripted assault on your--
FREEMAN: It was an unscripted assault. And it changed the entire tenor of the movie.
MORGAN: I hope you (inaudible) and then responded with equal enthusiasm.
FREEMAN: I did the best I could. It wasn't like we rehearsed it, you know. It was just -- she just -- she decided I'm doing this, and got up and followed her muse, whatever it was at the time.
MORGAN: And where did things end here, I mean, where did it go?
FREEMAN: We don't know.
MORGAN: Jacuzzi scene? I mean, where? Where do we go?
FREEMAN: No, no, we had a dream -- a dream sequence. I dreamed of making love to her.
MORGAN: But you never actually got to do it?
FREEMAN: No. Not -- no.
MORGAN: Is that a matter of bitter personal regret, there?
FREEMAN: I wouldn't say that. And in my whole career, I don't think I've ever had an affair with an actress.
MORGAN: Have you not?
MORGAN: That is extraordinary.
MORGAN: You've never had an affair with one of your actresses?
MORGAN: How have you resisted, the -- well, not even trap, the pleasure perhaps--
FREEMAN: One of the things, I think, is that I just never need to live the part. You know, I'm -- if I'm supposed to be in love with an actress, I don't have to fall in love with her to play it, you know? So it just -- I just never did. I don't believe in it. I don't think it's a good idea.
FREEMAN: Well, at the end of the day, you're going to break up, because you're -- you're going to go on to another one, you know. So it's just not -- I don't know, I don't think it's a good idea.
MORGAN: Because I've always felt with you, Morgan -- and correct if I'm wrong here -- but I always thought you're a natural ladies' man in the sense that women really love you. The women I know who know you adore you. And you always seem to have a natural affinity around with them. Would you accept that?
FREEMAN: Yes, yes. I absolutely adore women. I just do. I, you know, I'm a mama's boy. I absolutely love women. But I also have an abiding respect for them, and I think that's what comes across more than, you know, I'm not what you would call a ladies' man.
FREEMAN: You know, I'm not a real big skirt chaser.
MORGAN: A small-time skirt chaser?
FREEMAN: There is a secret, I'll tell you after the show.
MORGAN: Go on, what's the secret?
FREEMAN: Don't chase women.
FREEMAN: They'll chase you.
MORGAN: Is that your strategy?
MORGAN: Does it work?
FREEMAN: Works very well. I'm going to get in trouble for saying this, because...
MORGAN: How -- so explore this technique for me. So what is the technique of letting them chase you? How do you make yourself known as potentially available?
FREEMAN: Just don't do it. Don't, you know, you meet a lady, you express to her how wonderful she looks or how you respond to the way she looks or whatever it is, and then go on about your business.
MORGAN: And does it ever fail?
FREEMAN: They are curious. They're like horses in a pasture sometimes. You walk into a pasture, and the horse sees you. He's coming over to investigate. And if you see a lady and you don't go, you know, drooling all over her, she's going to want to know why.
MORGAN: So you've -- basically a lifetime of non-drooling has been a successful strategy?
FREEMAN: Yes. That's worked fine.
MORGAN: Any other tips?
FREEMAN: You need to have a large amount of respect for ladies. They respond very well to that.
MORGAN: How are you dealing with being a single man again after a long time married?
FREEMAN: This has happened before. What happens generally is that sort of like, oh, oh, he's back. So then you're sort of that, you know, you're in -- you're in a good position, you know, and so now, ladies...
MORGAN: Let's have a little, I think, much needed break, while we both recover from this, and come back and talk to you about your early life in Mississippi. I love this quote, you said it was your goal to always leave Mississippi.
MORGAN: Which you achieved. I'm interested in why. All right.
MORGAN: After the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DRIVING MISS DAISY")
JESSICA TANDY, ACTRESS: What are you doing there?
FREEMAN: Oh, I just love a house with pictures, Miss Daisy. They do make a home.
TANDY: I don't want you nosing through my things.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "DRIVING MISS DAISY")
MORGAN: Morgan Freeman in "Driving Miss Daisy," a movie that took Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 1989, and tackled some -- tackled some pretty tough questions about race in America.
You were brought up in Mississippi and you said -- as I said before the break -- it was your goal to always leave. Why was that?
FREEMAN: Well, growing up, the segregation in Mississippi just sort of had us all a little upset with the situation. And I thought, get out of here, because, you know, there's no life for you here.
MORGAN: What did that kind of intense racism teach you, or not even teach, what did it motivate you to try and achieve in your life?
FREEMAN: Your teachers tell you get an education and go somewhere, be something. Don't succumb to depression, let's say. And I was always ambitious. I always wanted to be more than I was, more than I was. I always wanted to be a movie actor.
Now Mississippi, there was just no way. And so one of the things was you're just never going to do it here. I -- when I graduated from high school, I had two partial scholarships, drama, for drama. And I was, what am I going to do with it here? So out, I had to get out.
MORGAN: In the sense if you're a young black man growing up in Mississippi at the time, your chance of ever getting on in life are pretty close to zero.
FREEMAN: If you stay there. MORGAN: Yes.
FREEMAN: Now I had a lot of friends who were -- my contemporaries in school, and they are in the Mississippi legislature. They're senators and they're teachers and they went to stuff like that. So it -- they were -- the timing was right for a sort of, you know, after 1964, things sort of broke loose.
MORGAN: When Barack Obama became president -- I know that you endorsed him and supported him and so on -- obviously was seen as this pivotal moment for America, where we had the first black president. And you know, I've seen you, many times in interviews, stress you don't want to be known as a black actor.
MORGAN: You don't think the word "black" should now really be used in any context to--
FREEMAN: Not really, you know, it -- what use is it? What good does it do? You know, what we've almost always done, when you label someone, you know, say for example, while he's the best Chinese this or he's the best Latin that or the best black that, nobody ever says the best white anything.
And the reason is that, you know, that's where the normal (ph) is. What are -- I'm part of the norm. I don't want to be isolated over here, because it diminishes me somehow.
MORGAN: Has Obama helped the process of eradicating racism? Or has it in a --
FREEMAN: I don't think...
MORGAN: ... strange way, made it worse?
FREEMAN: Made it worse. Made it worse. Look at the -- look -- the Tea Partiers -- who are controlling the Republican party, their stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term. What's -- what does that -- what underlines that? Screw the country. We're going to do whatever we need to do to get this black man -- we can -- we're going to do whatever we can to get this black man out of here.
MORGAN: But it's not necessarily a racist--
FREEMAN: It is a racist thing.
MORGAN: Is it not just Republicans -- wouldn't they say that about any Democratic president?
FREEMAN: No, because they would have gotten rid of Bill Clinton if they could have.
MORGAN: And they tried.
FREEMAN: They tried, but still, I don't -- anyone's -- they're not going to get rid of Obama. I think they're shooting themselves in the hip (ph).
MORGAN: Does it unnerve you that the Tea Party are gaining such traction?
FREEMAN: Yes. Well, it just shows the weak, dark underside of America. We're supposed to be better than that. We really are. That's why all those people were in tears when Obama was elected president. Look at what we are. Look at how -- this is America. You know? And then it just sort of started turning, because these people surfaced (ph), like stirring up muddy water.
MORGAN: Are you disappointed that Obama hasn't been more aggressive in taking them on?
FREEMAN: Kind of. Kind of. But I still understood that he was trying to hold onto his own promise, that he...
MORGAN: Be different (ph) to that kind of thing.
FREEMAN: He would be president of all the people. He would be -- he was not going to -- he was going to try not to have this...
MORGAN: But wouldn't most Americans now, certainly a majority, in my view, love him to just stick a metaphorical bloody nose on his opponent...
FREEMAN: I think he's -- now you do, now because you see hard he's trying, and how hard they have fought against him, yes. That's what we all want to see. We want to -- and he's going to do it.
MORGAN: You think so?
FREEMAN: Oh, surely, yes. They're going to wind up with a bloody nose.
MORGAN: You think he has it in him?
MORGAN: Do you think he has it in him?
FREEMAN: Of course he does. He's just an honorable man. But he's -- yes. He's strong. He's -- what did they say, when he's announced that, yes, we got bin Laden, oh, well, now, he does have some balls. That was a surprise? Yes. But, you know, he's a man of deep honor.
MORGAN: What advice would you give him now? FREEMAN: I don't -- I don't have to give him advice. But if we had to sit down and talk, I would say what you just said, you know. We want you to now go the other way. Get...
MORGAN: Get punching?
FREEMAN: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: Because there's a -- I mean, if you look at his approval rating, there is a genuine risk now, that he could be a one-term president. And never get...
FREEMAN: There is a genuine risk. But this whole thing about polls and approval ratings, you know, they go up and down like a yo- yo. It just depends on what -- I mean if the -- if the -- if the stock market suddenly goes up, so does his poll numbers.
MORGAN: Let's take another break. I want to talk to you about movies. I want to know, of all the movies, as I say, that grossed nearly $3 billion, which is the one you would remake again, if you had a month to live? Don't answer yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MILLION DOLLAR BABY")
FREEMAN: We're protecting him from the championship.
CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: Yeah.
FREEMAN: Well, now it makes sense.
EASTWOOD: What about you, Scrap? What did your manager do? You were a hell of a fighter, a lot better than Willie. He got you a title fight or did he just bust you out, banging your head against other people's fists until you lost your eye?
FREEMAN: I had my shot. I went out swinging, and no man can say I didn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "MILLION DOLLAR BABY")
MORGAN: "Million Dollar Baby," which you finally, eventually won an Academy Award for. You must have been thinking, when the hell do I get one of these things?
FREEMAN: No. No. What for?
MORGAN: What was the movie before that, where you felt most like this is the one, I'm going to get an Oscar for this, and didn't?
FREEMAN: "Driving Miss Daisy."
MORGAN: Yes. FREEMAN: Yes.
MORGAN: That was scandalous.
FREEMAN: That's what everybody says. But really, I did. I did, but I didn't -- I didn't -- I didn't have an argument when Daniel Day- Lewis got it.
MORGAN: No, because...
FREEMAN: Because I saw "My Left Foot," I mean, it was like, "Wow," you know.
MORGAN: Did you get to a point when you've made all your movies, and you still haven't won one, you start to think, I'm never going to win an Oscar?
FREEMAN: You know, I changed -- I changed my approach mentally. I decided, OK, let's forget about winning an Oscar, and let's see how many times you can get nominated.
MORGAN: Because you've been nominated five, six times? How many? Five times?
MORGAN: And the reason that's kind of always the bridesmaid, never the bride...
MORGAN: ... scenario starts to lurk in your head.
FREEMAN: But then, after a while, you, you know, I think that there's some value in just being nominated. I used to always say, as you look -- it -- once you win it, that's it. You're done.
But as long as you can get nominated, everyone is going to say, you know, this guy has been up here -- it's like Paul Newman. How many times, you know, how many times were you nominated and you don't win? Peter O'Toole. He probably got more nominations than anybody in history. Never won.
MORGAN: When you heard the magical words, "Winner: Morgan Freeman," honestly, what were you thinking when you heard that?
FREEMAN: Well, do you want the truth? Or do you want me to make something up?
MORGAN: The truth.
FREEMAN: I knew it.
FREEMAN: Yes. See, to me, an Academy award is for Best Actor. Best Supporting Actor is a runner-up prize.
MORGAN: So it doesn't count really?
FREEMAN: It does, because people can still say you won an Academy award.
MORGAN: But to you, you still need to win the Best Actor?
FREEMAN: Well, as I said, I would much prefer to be nominated now for Best Actor.
MORGAN: Is it one of the things that continues to drive you to work so hard? Because you don't need to.
FREEMAN: No, no, no. I mean, awards, you will get it, you're good enough, or if you get a publicist's attention. But, no, working is working. That's -- it's just that. I always wanted to be in the movies. I'm in the movies. I want to stay -- keep doing it. And so I enjoy it a lot.
MORGAN: I want to play you a clip from my favorite Morgan Freeman movie. It's no great secret, because we've touched on this earlier. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION")
TIM ROBBINS, ACTOR: There's something inside that they can't get to, that they can't touch, that's yours.
FREEMAN: What're you talking about?
FREEMAN: Hope? Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. It's got no use on the inside. You'd better get used to that idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION")
MORGAN: "Shawshank Redemption," I mean, a brilliant movie, and we've discussed it. I mean...
FREEMAN: Written by Stephen King.
MORGAN: That's right, it was, yes. When you saw the script for "Shawshank Redemption" -- do you know instantly now what is a good and bad script? Can you tell?
FREEMAN: Oh, yes. Yes. It's the same way with you reading a book. Page one sometimes, if you're hooked, you know that this is -- it's going to be great. It's all about writing, you know. What hooks you in writing? Just somebody's ability to put words together and create imagery.
MORGAN: When you see Red saying, "hope is a dangerous thing," is that Morgan Freeman about the Oscar for Best Actor? Did you relate to him?
FREEMAN: Actually, no, you know. But you could say that if you were -- had a real quirky twist of your mind there.
MORGAN: I heard -- I heard the filming of "Shawshank Redemption" was quite edgy, that it wasn't an easy --
MORGAN: Why was that?
FREEMAN: Well, you have different reasons for that. If you have issues with the direction, that it's going to get edgy.
MORGAN: And you did?
FREEMAN: Well, I like directors that listen to me. I like for them -- if I -- if I say something, I say it because I know what I'm talking about, pretty much. And a lot of the directors that I have worked with know that and respond to that. And if they don't, then I'm a little miffed. They (ph) come to me later on and say, you were right.
MORGAN: How would you have changed it?
FREEMAN: How would I have changed?
MORGAN: "Shawshank Redemption"?
FREEMAN: I wouldn't have changed a thing in it. I wouldn't.
MORGAN: So did you finally get your way?
MORGAN: But you had to have a battle?
FREEMAN: I had to have a battle at one point, just to say, no. Not doing it.
MORGAN: Would you advise that for most actors, though? Or do you think you're in that rare category...
FREEMAN: If your instincts are telling you that -- and you, when you read a script and they say, this is the character I want you to play, you want me to play the character. I'm the actor. I'm not a puppet. So, don't let me come on set and you start giving me direction. I don't want it. I don't need it. I don't, you know, if you want to play the part, then...
MORGAN: What will directors make of this when they watch interview?
FREEMAN: What will directors say?
MORGAN: What will directors think of what you're saying?
FREEMAN: Well, they -- they -- they -- all the good ones understand it.
MORGAN: Well, they're going to think of (INAUDIBLE) you because you're Morgan Freeman but they're not going to take it from some lippy 25-year-old actor, are they? You're not going to encourage all actors to rise up against directors.
FREEMAN: No, I don't, I -- but -- but -- I don't -- I don't encourage them to knuckle under when you feel strongly that you are right about your character.
MORGAN: I asked before the break, which is the movie you would make again, not to change, but just to relive the experience for whatever reason if you had a month to live, what would it be?
FREEMAN: Anything I did with Clint Eastwood.
FREEMAN: He's just great to work with. I've done three movies with him and they were all good.
MORGAN: The Unforgiven, Invictus, and Million Dollar Baby.
FREEMAN: Million Dollar Baby, yes, and I mean, when we finished filming Invictus we all stood up and said, "I want to start again." It was so much fun. You know, you wouldn't look at a movie like that and think, gosh, those guys are having a great time. I mean, everybody.
MORGAN: I'm going to feel like this in about 20 minutes.
MORGAN: Can you come on every month? Maybe bring your friend Clint?
FREEMAN: Well, that would be interesting.
FREEMAN: You would -- you would get a kick out of that.
MORGAN: Come on with Clint.
FREEMAN: Yes, I mean, if you get Clint, I'll come. MORGAN: Fantastic. Fantastic. We're not finished yet. When we come back after the break I want to talk to you more about movies, in particular, your role in the Batman movies.
JOSHUA HARTO: I want $10 million a year for the next 10 years.
MORGAN FREEMAN: Let me get this straight, do you think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands and your plan is to blackmail this person?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Some of The Dark Night, the last Batman film, you were just saying you loved that scene. Why?
FREEMAN: Well, it's just that watching this young man, this actor, make this transition from I want $10 million for the rest of my life like -- let me you ask you this.
MORGAN: How important is money to you? Because you came from very little money.
FREEMAN: Money is really not important until you don't have any and, so, I pretty much grew up without any and, now, I have enough to do whatever I want to do so it's -- it's, yes.
MORGAN: You went through a pretty hard (INAUDIBLE), a very, apparently, very expensive divorce. Is that -- was that painful to you?
FREEMAN: Yes. These things are -- the pain is not real, you know, it's more psychic than real. Because, I mean, I wasn't being broke and I wasn't going to walk out of this without anything. So, it's -- what's the word I'm looking for, it's just a ...
MORGAN: It's a state of mind, really, is it?
MORGAN: More like the principle is at stake...
FREEMAN: (INAUDIBLE) principle, that's what it is.
MORGAN: ...how it feels.
FREEMAN: It's a principle thing, that's all, you know.
MORGAN: And did you feel done in? Did you feel like you'd been unfairly treated?
FREEMAN: Slightly, yes. Yes. But, I'm cool. MORGAN: You're what?
FREEMAN: I'm cool.
MORGAN: How do you get on with your ex these days? I've been through a divorce. It's not easy with the actual process but, have you been able to have an ongoing relationship, a friendship?
MORGAN: Not at all?
FREEMAN: I don't want it.
MORGAN: You don't want it?
FREEMAN: What for?
MORGAN: I don't know, I suppose 27 years together?
FREEMAN: Yes, but, you know, this -- I don't -- there were no kids involved that we have to worry about in that situation.
MORGAN: So you never speak to each other at all?
FREEMAN: Well, not really.
MORGAN: I suppose that's not strange. If you...
FREEMAN: No, why would it be strange?
MORGAN: I don't know. I suppose everyone always imagines it's a nice way -- I mean, I speak to my ex-wife because we have three kids and so I speak to her most days about the kids.
MORGAN: If you don't have that glue I guess there's no real need to, is there?
FREEMAN: No, no, no. And that glue isn't there. There's no real need to.
MORGAN: You've been married twice. Do you think you'll get married again?
FREEMAN: No. Never.
MORGAN: That's it.
FREEMAN: No. And, the reason I got married the second time, to tell you the truth was, I thought you don't want to grow old alone. But, that's -- that's like an empty fear. You're not going to grow old alone. You're just going to die alone.
MORGAN: What a morbid way of looking at things, Morgan.
FREEMAN: Well, maybe, but, tell me who dies with somebody.
MORGAN: Well, I'm hoping that I may have some quaint deathbed scene.
FREEMAN: You won't know anything about it.
MORGAN: Are you a -- a God-fearing man.
FREEMAN: No, I don't fear anything. I'm God.
MORGAN: You have played God, of course. Let's hold that thought.
FREEMAN: How do you have the temerity if you don't believe in yourself?
MORGAN: Let's hold the thought that you're God...
MORGAN: ...and come back after the break and discuss the God that is Morgan Freeman.
FREEMAN: All right. And afterlife.
JIM CAREY: Who are you?
FREEMAN: I'm the one, the creator of the heavens and the earth, Alpha and Omega.
CAREY: Oh, I see where this is going.
FREEMAN: Bruce? I am God.
CAREY: Bingo. Yahtzee. Is that your final answer. Our survey says, God. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was your role as God in the film Bruce Almighty. I heard you had no hesitation...
FREEMAN: None whatsoever.
MORGAN: ...in assuming the mantle of God.
FREEMAN: No, no. Why would I?
MORGAN: Do you like playing God? FREEMAN: Yes, it was fun. It was fun. And, you know, I could tell the writer/director who was Tom Shadyac, he would say, "well, you know, so, he does this and that happens." No, no, no, no, no, no. No. That happened because I think it. Not because I did anything. I'm not going to wiggle my nose or make a little gesture, you know. If I want it to happen, it happens. And he went along with that. That's what I mean by directors who listen. You asked me before if I was a God-fearing man.
FREEMAN: And I said...
MORGAN: You don't fear anyone.
FREEMAN: ...right, I'm God. Now, that sounds frivolous but what I mean is that if God exists it only has to -- it can only exist in you, not outside you, right?
FREEMAN: Right. Do I believe in life after death? My real belief is that life and death are a continuum. One needs the other.
MORGAN: Where do you physically continue, you think?
FREEMAN: If you -- when you die, you feed something that lives.
MORGAN: Right, so you believe in kind of, you know, that you come back.
FREEMAN: As it was (INAUDIBLE) that's what I believe, Gloria Patri or Patri. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. That doesn't mean that you as a human being will be here forever. Life will be here forever. As long as there is a planet, there will be life on it. I don't think we are any more important to the planet than dinosaurs were.
MORGAN: Let me take you to your -- to your deathbed.
FREEMAN: Go ahead.
MORGAN: Which is clearly going to be a miserable scene, we've already established that. So, you're on your own, it's miserable, and you're about to die. Would you have any regrets about your life and, if so, what would they be?
FREEMAN: You know, I don't think you know that until you get there. If I had any regrets I would be able to say it right now. Yes, well, I -- you know, I wish I'd never done this or that or the other.
MORGAN: What would be the biggest regret of your life?
FREEMAN: I don't know. I don't know. I haven't finished so I mean, I may do something else stupid.
MORGAN: What's the one thing you would change if you could go back in time?
FREEMAN: I'm not going to tell you that.
FREEMAN: It's not fair to some other people?
MORGAN: How bad is it?
FREEMAN: Really bad.
MORGAN: You had a really bad accident ...
MORGAN: ...one of your really bad things...
MORGAN: ...and you had to be cut out and everything else. I mean, in moments like that, do you go through the cliche is there life flash before you kind of thing?
FREEMAN: No, I didn't even know what was going on. I had no idea that this was happening. I mean, I think maybe I just passed out or went to sleep or something and wrecked the car. Then, I woke up with being cut out of the car. But, no, not that -- and I've been in situations where you look at it approaching and say, this has got to be it, this must be the end of it, you know. But, your life doesn't flash in front of your face. You just...
MORGAN: You suffered permanent damage to your arm.
FREEMAN: Well, I hope it's not permanent but it's been three years and it's not the arm, just the hand, I can't move the fingers.
MORGAN: You -- you have it in a glove here now.
FREEMAN: Yes, I have it in a glove because I can't move it and if you can't move your hand -- you move your hand a million times a day every day. If you can't move it, blood will pool in it. It doesn't get proper circulation and blood pools in it and it swells. So, the glove ...
MORGAN: So it's pretty well a dead hand, is it?
FREEMAN: Pretty much a dead -- a dead hand, yes.
MORGAN: Does that impact on your acting at all?
FREEMAN: Only if I have to do something and pretend that it's not dead.
MORGAN: Were you left or right handed?
FREEMAN: Left. MORGAN: You are a left hander who -- who's lost the power of his left hand.
MORGAN: So how has that affected your life?
FREEMAN: Well, conventional wisdom says that left-handed people are much more adaptable if they have to learn to use their right hand than right-handed people because you live in a right-handed world.
MORGAN: So, how are you finding writing with the right hand.
FREEMAN: It's -- I try not to write much, you know. You can sign my name, it's just a scrawl, that's all you have to do, and it's done. But I can't really write with it. I can print. I can print pretty good.
MORGAN: And what about, I mean, I know you like playing golf and stuff. Can you still do that?
FREEMAN: Yes, I play golf with one hand.
MORGAN: With one hand?
FREEMAN: Yes. I can drive a ball 180 yards.
MORGAN: Can you really?
MORGAN: That's extraordinary.
FREEMAN: Yes. Well, you do what you have to do, you know. If you want to do something you make do with what you've got.
MORGAN: We're going to take another break and when we come back and I want to talk to you about your love for a dolphin. Words I never though I'd use to you Morgan Freeman.
FREEMAN: I never thought I'd hear it.
FREEMAN: Well, to begin with, he's as smooth as wet silk. But, how would you keep the doggone thing on her. I mean, there's nothing there. There's nothing to attach it to. It's preposterous anyway, trying to put a tail on a fish. And nobody in his right mind would even try. Luckily, I'm not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not what?
FREEMAN: In my right mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A clip from your new film, Dolphin Tale, which is in theaters now. You play Dr. McCarthy who builds a prosthetic tail for this dolphin. It's a true story. It's based on this dolphin...
FREEMAN: Based on a true story, yes.
MORGAN: ...yes, and it's a dolphin called Winter and this prosthetic tail is attached by the end of the movie and it's a real sort of weepy heartwarming film. Tell me about it. I mean, did you know the story? Did you ...
FREEMAN: No, no, no. I had no idea of the story. But, let me take you back a little bit. I'm a deep water sailor. I'm a blue water sailor and all blue water sailors have had encounters with dolphins at sea because I think they're the only creatures in the wild who will come and -- and have any kind of rapport with humans. They come over and they play around your boat and ride on the bow wave and go out and dance and come back and ask you, did you like that? Was that (INAUDIBLE), you know. But, I've never been up close and personal. You know, I've gone to Sea World or something like that to see dolphins but it was an opportunity in this movie, which was a wonderful script, I might add. It was an opportunity to be involved with a dolphin so, that was a good reason to do it.
MORGAN: And do you believe from your seafaring that they are more intelligent.
FREEMAN: Oh, absolutely. I think dolphins are the only wild creatures, the only wild creatures on the planet, who will voluntarily come up and have any kind of encounters with humans. They do that. I mean, whales don't come and play around you. No kind of fish does. No animal does that you know about. If it's wild it's out there. You can tame horses, cows, chickens, goats, ducks, and things like that but in the wild, they're wild, they won't come near you. Dolphins will.
MORGAN: You get to play with Harry Connick, Jr., (INAUDIBLE) interview soon, how was that?
FREEMAN: That was great fun. Great. You know, Harry, he's just a regular guy who happens to have this incredible talent and I -- I -- I'm an actor. That's really all I do but I love to sing. So, I'm always singing to myself. I sing to entertain me and, you know, if you -- if you hear it and you say, oh, you sound good then I'll entertain you.
But, Harry, said -- was always saying you should go into a studio, you should just go into a studio and lay down some songs. I said, Harry, I don't want to do that. I only sing because I enjoy listening to myself.
MORGAN: Are you tempted, though, because, I mean, you've got a good voice?
FREEMAN: I'm not even tempted.
MORGAN: You could be the new Barry White.
FREEMAN: No. I would never get down that low in my voice. But, he was, he was somebody who suggested, well, what if -- what if you went into a studio with Harry. Then, Harry came up with a great idea, you know. So -- I forget what he called it. He had a name for it and he would get actors to come in and sing with him.
MORGAN: Really? Are you going to do this?
FREEMAN: If -- if he gets it together, I'm going. Yes.
MORGAN: So, we've got a scoop that you're going to sing a duet with Harry Connick, Jr.
MORGAN: Have you chosen the song yet?
FREEMAN: No, because we haven't decided actually that we're going to do it.
MORGAN: What -- what's the one you've always sung in the shower you thought, if I only get the chance I'm going to sing this.
FREEMAN: Oh, almost anything that I know that Frank Sinatra sings.
MORGAN: Perfect with Harry Connick.
MORGAN: Well, what's your favorite Sinatra song?
FREEMAN: I don't have a favorite Sinatra song.
MORGAN: Well, what's the one...
FREEMAN: I guess run through the whole gamut...
MORGAN: ...going back to -- going back to your deathbed scene, let's take it forward to the funeral.
FREEMAN: My story is much too sad to be told ...
MORGAN: The one thing about you, Morgan Freeman, I've established over the last hour is your story is not too sad to be told. It's been a story of joyous chaos, triumph, the occasional disaster but, above all, great fun. Thank you very much.
FREEMAN: Thank you.
MORGAN: It's been a pleasure. FREEMAN: It has been a pleasure.
MORGAN: I'll see you with Clint in the future.
FREEMAN: I was a little -- I was a little intimidated about coming (INAUDIBLE) ...
FREEMAN: ...yes, because you pin people to the wall. I've watched you do it (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: Bring Clint Eastwood on.
MORGAN: And I'll definitely put him to the wall.
FREEMAN: All right.
MORGAN: Tell him it will make my day, punk. That was Morgan Freeman, an extraordinary encounter and one I thoroughly enjoyed. That's all for us tonight. AC 360 starts right now.