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Interview with Morgan Freeman

Aired December 29, 2011 - 21:00   ET


PIERCE MORGAN, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, the interview I've been waiting for, Morgan and Morgan.


MORGAN: Here you are, Morgan Freeman.



MORGAN: My hour with the great Morgan Freeman. From "Glory" and "Driving Miss Daisy" to "Invictus" and "Shawshank Redemption," his 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.

Me, me. That the reaction on my face was -- Rob 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. MORGAN: Really?

FREEMAN: Yes. I can drive a ball 180 yards.


MORGAN: This man can do just about anything. I'll also 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?



MORGAN (on camera): Morgan Freeman is a man of great stature, a man of great talent, and as I've 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.



We won't talk about how it came about.

MORGAN: We won't. I know it's got nothing to do with me.


Everything to do with one of my very attractive booking team, right?

FREEMAN: Yes, yes. I must admit.


The most stunning woman I've ever met.

MORGAN: Don't say that.

(CROSSTALK) MORGAN: Please, don't say this. It will go to her head. Please. Please don't say that. I also said, when I interviewed you down the line remotely by satellite, you appeared to be remarkably 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 don't?

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 nashers.

FREEMAN: I have a new grill. And --


MORGAN: Can we have a little --


FREEMAN: Yes. It's --


MORGAN: They're perfect.

FREEMAN: They -- my teeth were moving. They were changing like by the week.

MORGAN: You've never, you know, been under the sculptor's knife or anything --


FREEMAN: No, 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.

(LAUGHTER) MORGAN: Are you vain?


MORGAN: I heard your ex-wife saying you weren't a narcissist but you had a very big ego.

FREEMAN: 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 when I was studying dance, I remember my instructor saying, when you were -- when you dance, he said 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. You have to have an ego. You have to walk on set and believe you're pretty good.

FREEMAN: Yes. Right.

MORGAN: You exude that air. Don't you?

FREEMAN: Well, I try to. You know. I just did a movie of 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.

MORGAN: What made you crumble?

FREEMAN: Well, it just -- it came my way. You know, and it would have to wait until I'm at this advanced stage.


MORGAN: You're 74 years old. I find that incredible to believe. It's incredible to believe.

FREEMAN: Well, I was born June 1st in 1937, or so my mother tells me.


And I believe her. She's never lied to me.

MORGAN: Let's rewind back to this love interest role.

FREEMAN: Well, it's a movie I did with Rob Reiner. It was called -- it's going to be called now -- Monte wild horns summer or summer with Monte -- something like that. (LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Going back to "Shawshank Redemption," you vowed never to make a movie again where they don't know how to say his name.

FREEMAN: Yes, once this comes out, they won't struggle with it because -- I mean, Shimshunk Reduction (ph), nobody is actually going to say that.


The Shanksham (ph).


So I think that's why the movie initially didn't do well.


MORGAN: This turned out to be one of the great movies --

FREEMAN: Of all times.

MORGAN: If we quote your name to 100 people in the street, "Redemption" would be one of the top-two movies as one of the great ones. And you're right, it didn't actually do that well, I think, at the time, because people weren't sure what it was.

FREEMAN: The thing you that sells anything is word of mouth. I don't care how you promote it, it's going to be word of mouth. If you cannot say it, people say, I just saw the most incredible movie. It's called the, um --


You know, you are dead in the water.

MORGAN: Did you like playing a romantic lead finally?

FREEMAN: Yes. Yes. I didn't think I would. You like -- but it was great fun. I was working with just wonderful actress, Virginia Madsen. And she was just delicious.


MORGAN: So have you finally performed your first love scene?

FREEMAN: Kind of. Yes.

MORGAN: How is that? I've mean you've made movies --


FREEMAN: It was a big surprise to me is what it was. That's how it was. You know, I didn't know that it was going to be a love scene. MORGAN: That's fantastic. Talk me through it, Morgan. Go on. Finally, at 74, you've made movies that have grossed $3 billion. You've finally succumbed to a love scene. Talk me through it.

FREEMAN: Well, we have this scene where we're talking together. And she's been off to have this -- trying to get settled with her ex- husband. She has three daughters. And I've been baby-sitting for them while she was off in the city. And you know, she's supposed to get up and come in give me a kiss on the cheek. And instead she gets up and plants one right on my lips.


A good one. You know? And I was so surprised. Me, me. The reaction on my face was -- Rob says it was priceless. So --


MORGAN: And what was going through your mind? 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. But then it's a really attractive lady. And we were doing fine in the scene. And then that whole movie was just going along --


MORGAN: So it was a non-scripted assault on your lips?

FREEMAN: It was a non-scripted assault. And it changed the entire tenor of the movie.

MORGAN: I hope you did the gentlemanly thing and then responded with equal enthusiasm.

FREEMAN: I did the best I could.


Because it wasn't like we rehearsed it. You know? She decided -- I'm doing this and got up and followed her muse, whatever it was, at the time.

MORGAN: Where did things end here? Where did it go?

FREEMAN: Well, we don't know.

MORGAN: Jacuzzi scene? Where are we going?


(LAUGHTER) No. We had a dream sequence. I dreamed of making love to her.

MORGAN: You never actually got to do it?


MORGAN: Is it a matter of bitter personal regret now?

FREEMAN: I wouldn't say that.


And my whole career, I don't think I've ever had an affair with an actress.

MORGAN: Have you not?


MORGAN: That is extraordinary. You've never had an affair with one of your actresses?


MORGAN: How have you resisted the trap, the pleasure perhaps that many of your colleagues have fallen into?

FREEMAN: One of the things I think is I just never need to live the part. If I'm supposed to be with an actress, I don't have to fall in love with her to play it. You know. I just never did it. 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 going to go into another one. You know? So it's just not -- I don't. I don't think it's a good idea.

MORGAN: Because I've always felt with you, Morgan, correct me if I'm wrong here, but I've always felt you're a natural ladies' man, that women really love you. Women I know who know you adore you. And you always seem to have a natural affinity around women. Would you accept that?

FREEMAN: Yes. Yes. I absolutely adore women. I just do. You know, I'm a mama's boy. I absolutely love women. But I also have an abiding respect for them. I think that's what comes across more than -- I'm not what you would call a ladies' man. I'm not a real big skirt chaser.

MORGAN: A small-time skirt chaser?

FREEMAN: There is a secret that I'll tell you after the show.


MORGAN: Go on, what's the secret?

FREEMAN: Don't chase women.

MORGAN: Really?

FREEMAN: They'll chase you.

MORGAN: Is that your strategy?


MORGAN: Does it work?

FREEMAN: It works very well.


I'm going to get in trouble for saying this because --


MORGAN: How do you -- explore this technique for me. 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're curious. They like horses in the 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 drooling all over her she's going to want to know why.

MORGAN: So basically, a lifetime of non-drooling has been a successful strategy?

FREEMAN: Yes. It works 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 -- you're in a good position. Now, ladies.

MORGAN: Using your horse in the field analogy, the stallion has just arrived back on the scene. Is that how this works?

FREEMAN: If you say stallion, that adds a connotation that may not go over that well on family television.


MORGAN: You are in your mid-70s.

FREEMAN: Oh, you come on late at night, don't you?

MORGAN: Yes. Don't worry. You can say what you like on this television. But you know, you are in your mid-70s, you find yourself a single man.


MORGAN: A multimillionaire movie star. You're youthful, you're fit.

FREEMAN: Be careful.


That's the order of the day. Be careful, you know. I have a lot of friends. I really have a lot of friends. They all know that they are my friends and that I love and respect, so, you sort of keep it on an even keel that way.

MORGAN: We'll take a, 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 like this quote you said. It was your goal to always leave Mississippi.


MORGAN: Which you achieved. I'm interested in why.

FREEMAN: All right. Well, I --


MORGAN: After the break.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JESSICA TANDY, ACTRESS: What are you doing there?

FREEMAN: Oh, I -- I just love a house of pictures, Miss Daisy. It do make a home.

TANDY: I don't want you nosing through my things.


MORGAN: Morgan Freeman in "Driving Miss Daisy." The movie took best picture in the Academy Awards in 1989 and tackled some pretty tough questions about race in America.

You were brought up in Mississippi. And you said -- as you 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 you. 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 -- 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 never going to do it here. When I graduated from high school, I had two partial scholarships, drama, for drama. And I thought, what am I going to do with it here? So out. I had to get out.

MORGAN: In the sense that you're a young black man growing up in Mississippi at the time, your chances of getting on in life are pretty close to zero?

FREEMAN: If you stayed there.


FREEMAN: Now, I had a lot of friends, my contemporaries in school, and they're in the Mississippi legislature, they're Senators, and they're teachers and they went to stuff like that. You know. So the timing was right for us, sort of, you know. After 1964, things sort of broke loose.

MORGAN: Well, when Barack Obama became president, I know you endorsed him and supported him and so on. Obviously, it was seen as this pivotal moment for America where we had the first black president. And yet, 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. What use is -- what good does it do? You know, what we've almost always done, when you label someone, you know, say, for example -- well, 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 that's where the norm is. Well, 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 strange way, made it worse?

FREEMAN: Made it worse. Made it worse. Look at -- 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 underlines that? Screw the country. We're going to do whatever we 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: Isn't it just Republicans --


FREEMAN: No, because they would have gotten rid of Bill Clinton if they could have.

MORGAN: Well, they tried.

FREEMAN: They tried. But still -- they're not going to get rid of Obama either. I think they're shooting themselves in the head.

MORGAN: Does it unnerve you that the Tea Party is gaining such traction?



FREEMAN: 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. It's 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 so understood that he was trying to hold on to his own promise that he --


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: Wouldn't most Americans now, certainly, a majority, in my view, love him to just stick a metaphorical bloody nose on his opponents?


FREEMAN: Yes. Now you do. Because now you see how hard he's trying and how hard they have fought against him. Yes. That's what we all want to see. And he's going to do it.

MORGAN: You think so?

FREEMAN: Oh, surely. He's going to wind up with a bloody nose.



MORGAN: Do you think he has it in him?

FREEMAN: Of course, he does. He's just an honorable man. But, yes. He's strong. He's -- what did they say when he announced we got bin Laden? Oh, well, now he does have some balls. That's not a surprise. Yes. But you know, he's a man of deep honor.

MORGAN: What advice would you give him now? We're a year away from election.

FREEMAN: 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.

MORGAN: Get punching.

FREEMAN: Yes. Yes.

MORGAN: Because there is 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 to fulfill --


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 stock market suddenly goes up, so do his poll numbers. MORGAN: We'll take a little break. We'll come back, and I want to talk to you about movies. I want to know, of all the movies -- as I say, they've grossed nearly $3 billion -- which is the one you would remake again if you had a month to live? Don't answer yet. Have a think.



FREEMAN: You were protecting him?


FREEMAN: Well, now it makes sense.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What about you, Scrap? What did your manager do? You were a hell of a fighter. A lot better than Willie. He gets 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 could say I didn't.


MORGAN: That's from "Million Dollar Baby," for which you finally, eventually won an academy award for.


You must be thinking, when in the hell do I get one of these things?

FREEMAN: 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. That was scandalous.


FREEMAN: Really, I did -- but I didn't -- I didn't have an argument when Daniel Day Lewis got it. Because I saw "My Left Foot." And it was like, wow. You know?

MORGAN: Did you get to a point when you've made all these 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 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?


MORGAN: Five times.


MORGAN: And there is that kind of always the bridesmaid, never the bride scenario, starts to lurk in your head.

FREEMAN: Yes. Yes. But after a while I think there's some value in just being nominated. I used to always say, once you win it, that's it, you're done. But, long as you can get nominated, everyone's going to say, you know, this guy's been up here for -- it's like Paul Newman. How many times, you know -- how many times are you nominated and you don't win? Peter O'Toole, he probably got more nominations than anyone in history, never won.

MORGAN: When you heard the magical words, "Winner, Morgan Freeman," honestly, what were you thinking when you heard that?

FREEMAN: You want the truth or you want me to make something up?

MORGAN: The truth.

FREEMAN: I knew it.

MORGAN: Really?

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 say, I'd much prefer to be nominated now for best actor.

MORGAN: Is that one of the things that continues to drive you to work so hard? Because you don't need to.

FREEMAN: No. No, no, no. Awards you'll get if you're good enough or if you get the public's attention. But no, working is working. It's just that. I always wanted to be in the movies. I'm in the movies. I want to stay -- keep doing it. 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 touched on this earlier. Let's watch this.


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.


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?


MORGAN: Why? 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 take it from 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.

MORGAN: Really?



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, ACTOR: I want 10 million dollars a year for the next 10 years.

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?


MORGAN: That's from "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 dollars 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: The principle, that's what it is.

MORGAN: -- how it feels.

FREEMAN: It's a principle thing, that's all, you know.

MORGAN: 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: No, I don't want it.

MORGAN: You don't want it?


MORGAN: Why? 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.


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?

MORGAN: Absolutely.

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 in the beginning, that's what I believe, Gloria Patri (ph) 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, it's you 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 may -- 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?


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. I 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?


MORGAN: Really?

FREEMAN: Yes. I can drive a ball 180 yards.

MORGAN: Can you really?

FREEMAN: Absolutely.

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 either.



FREEMAN: Well, to begin with, he's as smooth as wet silk. But how would you keep the dog gone 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.


FREEMAN: In my right mind.


MORGAN: A clip from your new film, "Dolphin Tale." 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 as 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 OK, 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., who I'm about to 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: Brilliant. 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.