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Morgan Freeman: Crime Free-Man Part Two

The HIGH CRIMES star discusses his career and his latest film with Ashley Judd

By Pamela Harland     April 10, 2002


Ashley Judd employs "wild card" lawyer Morgan Freeman (right) and military attorney Adam Scott to help with her husband's defense in HIGH CRIMES
© 2001 by 20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises
Respected actor Morgan Freeman has appeared on screen as a detective, a prisoner, a teacher, a cowboy, a general and even the president of the United States over the years. Currently, he's starring as 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. Today Freeman continues his chat about his career.

HIGH CRIMES



Working with actors and directors whom he prefers to work with wasn't always the main reason why Freeman chose to do a project. For Freeman, first it was the script. Nowadays, though, he says there are many reasons why he accepts a part, sometimes relating to the craft and sometimes just out of pure practicality.

"I've noticed that I have read material and said, 'Uh, uh,' and then someone said, 'Well you know so and so is directing it,' and you go, 'Oh, let's see that again,'" says Freeman. "And you filter it through a different lens. So you take material based on a whole lot of different criteria. It's like, 'I haven't worked in six months and my boat is down there and I have to haul it out of the water and have the bottom painted. 'Well, what's up? OK, that looks good. And well what does it pay?' It all depends on what your agenda is."

Freeman notes his roles in UNFORGIVEN and SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION as parts he was surprised but grateful he was being offered purely on the merit of the material. He says a great script is comparable to a good book you just can't put down.

Morgan Freeman in HIGH CRIMES



"You sit down and you get to page one and he's got you," says Freeman in regards to the latter film's script. "I read SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and I said, 'I don't believe they sent this to me.' All my life I wanted to be cowboy in a western and Clint Eastwood calls and says, 'Hey I want you to be in a western [UNFORGIVEN] with me.' I can't believe the luck."

Playing different people and exploring different avenues is what appeals to Freeman most about acting - the opportunity of portraying someone entirely new and the adventure of being lost in a whole other embodiment.

"I look for something I haven't been before," says Freeman, "or if there is a fresh approach I can attack. I look for something in it that is going to challenge me with something I haven't done before. Acting is not difficult work; it's not like you have to sit down and angst about moments. You know at some point there's going to be moments that are more difficult than others, like in HIGH CRIMES there's a difficult part where I have to be drunk but I can't overdo it and I can't underdo it."

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



Next on his plate, Freeman plays a colonel in the science fiction drama DREAMCATCHER due later this year.

"We're dealing with aliens," says Freeman. "Alf, I'm an Alf hunter, a little weird, a little burned out, 25 years of hunting aliens."

And, notes Freeman, DREAMCATCHER is sure to have "a lot of special effects."

As for the future, Freeman is a day-to-day man with no outstanding desires to play any particular role.

"I take it as it comes," says Freeman. "The work is cyclical, one moment you have three different projects and then for the next six months zilch. You get your opportunities and you rise to the occasion as best you can. I never say I'm tired, I'm going to take time off. I get plenty of time."

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