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Morgan Freeman: Crime Free-Man Part One

The acclaimed actor comes to the aid of Ashley Judd once again in HIGH CRIMES

By Pamela Harland     April 09, 2002


Morgan Freeman in HIGH CRIMES
© 2002 20th Century Fox
There are very few of them - accomplished, renowned and talented actors. But one of the first names that come to mind is Morgan Freeman. For over 30 years Freeman has graced the screen as a detective, a prisoner, a teacher, a cowboy, a general and even the president of the United States. And each time we believe in him. He is effortless with his work and his abilities, appearing very natural and at ease on screen. But the nearly 65-year-old actor says don't give him too much credit, it's an innate trait.

Morgan Freeman in HIGH CRIMES



"The challenge is getting the work," says Freeman. "Doing the work is not the challenge. I'm born to act. I'm born to pretend. I'm born not to do it in real life. Once I get the job, it's smooth sailing, it comes easy."

Easy for him possibly, but that would be an understatement for those who have to work hard at it. Those who work endlessly just to get it right. For Freeman, playing former military attorney Charlie Grimes - an alcoholic "wild card" who is reluctantly enlisted by a woman (Ashley Judd) to help her free her framed husband (Jim Caviezel) in HIGH CRIMES was as easy as recalling parts of his own life.

"I drank for a long time and then I quit," says Freeman. "Luckily I'm not an alcoholic but I think we have a genetic disposition towards alcoholism. I remember one time I woke up face down in the closet and I decided that's it and I quit, but I have a connection to it. And being an actor I've lived my life by making changes."

Ashley Judd employs "wild card" lawyer Morgan Freeman (right) and military attorney Adam Scott to help with her husband's defense in HIGH CRIMES



Also part of Freeman's past is the military. As a child he romanticized the idea of being in the Air Force from watching old wartime epics such as BACK TO BATAAN and enlisted when he finally came of age. But he quickly learned the military wasn't what it appears to be in the cinema.

"I was in the military for three years, eight months and ten days," says Freeman precisely. "At the end of the second year my edge was pretty much worn smooth. I'm not military. I'm not the kind of person who can sustain it. When I first got in I was all goose bumpy with it all and then you start meeting your superiors."

Besides his innateness, he credits his acting skills from watching a plethora of films growing up. Freeman says that was the best schooling for his career he ever got.

"To me acting in large part is mimicking something that you've seen," explains Freeman. "So as a child I spent my life at the movies. I really went to the movies as often as possible, two, three times a day sometimes. I'm studying and after a while I'm just watching how they do it and it's the same thing in everyday life. The actor's big talent, I think, is watching people."

Continuing his education, Freeman says life is his teacher. He is built to act and absorb information around him to help him achieve his goals.

HIGH CRIMES



"I learn from everything," says Freeman. "Those are the stories of your life and life is about stories. Every situation that you run into is going to inform you on some level or another. I think I am born to do this. You just drink up stuff and you're always looking or studying and that's what I think I have."

What he also has is incredible chemistry with his HIGH CRIMES leading lady Ashley Judd. The two previously worked together in the 1997 thriller KISS THE GIRLS and found mutual admiration for one another then, hoping to work together again. It took five years for that to happen but Freeman is always thankful to work with Judd.

"I just adore her," says Freeman. "She's special as an actress. She's special as a person. She's extremely bright and intimidating with her mind."

Check back soon for part two of our Morgan Freeman profile.

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