Morgan Freeman has had quite the career playing everyone from a convict to Nelson Mandella to God himself. And he’s not shy about admitting that he believes he is God and that the role came to him quite naturally.
His latest role is in “The Magic of Belle Isle,” a film by Rob Reiner where he plays a grumpy, wheelchair-bound author who moves to a sleepy rural town and befriends a single mother (Virginia Madsen).
Fox411 caught up with the extremely successful actor to talk about his thoughts on his favorite films (you might be surprised at what doesn’t make the cut), his latest hobby and, of course, his faith.
Fox411: Your character is very grumpy in “The Magic of Belle Isle.” Is Morgan Freeman a grump?
Morgan Freeman: I have moments. I think generally I’m easy going for the most part but sometimes in the morning if I didn’t sleep well I can be kind of grumpy. But my grumpiness doesn’t have that much to do with my dissatisfaction with my station in life.
Fox411: This movie is about an older African-American man falling in love with a white woman, and it’s not an issue in the film. What does that say about America?
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MF: It tells you in the last fifty years we’ve come quite a ways. The civil rights movement was in ’64, ’65 so we’re not that far removed from that era but we seem to be centuries away from that attitude.
Fox411: You’ve been in countless huge movies. What are your favorites?
MF: Working backwards, ‘Invictus,’ ‘Glory,’ ‘Street Smart,’ ‘Lean on Me,’ ‘Driving Miss Daisy.’
Fox411: You didn’t mention ‘Shawshank Redemption.’ I’m a little hurt.
MF: I’m sorry, it’s everybody else’s favourite, not necessarily mine.
Fox411: Why not?
MF: I know everybody loves it and I’m very happy that everybody loves it. I made it. It was a day to day thing of shooting it.
Fox411: So it wasn’t a happy experience to make it?
Fox411: Ok then, let’s move on. Tell me about your series ‘Through the Wormhole.’
MF: It’s a science series. It’s a series that asks a lot of heavy questions about the universe, the solar system. For instance is there a God, if there is did we invent him?
Fox411: Do you think there is a God?
MF: Do I think there’s a God? Um (pause) yeah.
Fox411: You paused.
MF: I paused because I am God.
Fox411: Because every man is created in God’s image.
MF: Yes or God’s created in my image.
Fox411: You played God in ‘Bruce Almighty.’ What was that experience like?
MF: I always knew that someone was going to come at me with a script to play God. It’s just one of those things, the way your career is unfolding and all the talk about gravitas etc etc, so I had a strong feeling that someone was going to offer me the part of God. I was totally prepared to say, ‘Thanks but no thanks,’ unless it was a comedy.
Fox411: A lot of people are in awe of your career. What’s it like to live it?
MF: It’s hard to believe that I’m actually here. If you look back on your life and where you started from it’s like looking back down a mountain back to the desert floor. It’s like now I can’t believe I had whatever it takes or perceived whatever it took to get here.
Fox411: Ever think about retiring?
MF: No! What good is that? You want to retire from a job you’re not that all enamoured with. I love what I do. I want to keep doing it till I can’t get out of bed doing it.
Fox411: So is it your dream to die on a movie set?
MF: Darling, no dying dreams! (laughs).
Fox411: Do you worry about aging?
MF: I don’t worry about it but I work hard at preventing it. I try to keep my mind active. I’m a solitaire and puzzle addict. I exercise religiously. I don’t do many things religiously and I’ve taken up golf to have something to do when I have nothing to do.
Fox411: People say it’s a very frustrating sport.
MF: It’s extremely frustrating. The other day I went to the driving range and discovered something that I could do that my coach had been trying to get me to do. It gelled and I was like, ‘Oh! I’ve solved the problem,’ then you take that to the golf course and it doesn’t work. It drives every golfer nuts.
Fox411: Ever tap the ball in if it’s right at the lip?
MF: No I discovered early on you really cannot cheat because you don’t win.