Sunday, February 7, 2010

Black History Month Day Se7en: Morgan Freeman

I didn't plan on making day seven be Morgan Freeman's day- at least not intentionally- but I suppose my ever deep and burning love for him just made it happen that way! If I was stuck on a island and could only pick one person to be there with me- I would pick Morgan Freeman in a heart beat. Why? Because then I could make him read me stories, (that he'd have stored up in memory of course) or just plan talk and recite lines from past acting roles. I could honestly listen to him talk all day long- and it would put me at such a wonderful calm and ease. Sigh. He is certainly one of the most well known and talented actors we have- and I'm pretty sure that any movie he is in- will make me cry. So first let's take a look at some of Morgan Freeman's most unforgettable roles shall we?

I'll begin with my very favorite- Red in The Shawshank Redemption. No matter where I am while watching it- hearing Red's monologue at the end will stop every single thing going on around me- and I just get sucked in. I weep like a baby at the end when he recites his "I hope..." lines
- and seeing the happy look on both Andy and Red's faces at the end upon meeting again is so devastating- in a good way of course. Devastating to my weak heart that is. I mean let's face it- I love Ellis Boyd Redding- I even used one of his quotes for my senior year quote in the yearbook mmmk. My devotion runs far and deep thank you. Other than the fact that this movie is incredible- Red is the best character that ever lived. He knows how to get things, he's friendly with the new guys, and he's just all around the kind of guy you would want to be friends with in prison. Yes that's right- he has a no butt raping policy- thank goodness. He even does his part to make his friends- who have been butt raped feel better- by gathering up all the prison buddies to find rocks for Andy. He's a stand up kind of guy- and seeing him finally released from prison was like the icing on the cake.

Then there's Detective William Sommerset-
a man who can keep his cool even when he received the douchiest partner known to man- Brad Pitt. This is a man who is intelligent, well read- AND can handle a gun. Plus he enjoys a nice glass of wine and good conversation. He spots the correlation between the murders in a second- and sees right through Brad Pitt's exterior. Luckily- his own calm demeanor and awesome way of doing things sort of helped turn Brad around- otherwise I'm pretty sure Detective Sommerset would have shot him "by accident". Se7en is one of the best crime thrillers out there- and Morgan Freeman (and Kevin Spacey) make this movie so unforgettable.

I have a hard time watching Glory- because it's almost too emotional to warrant repeated viewings. But Morgan Freeman's John Rawlins is another prime example of perfection in character. Rawlins again- comes to his comrades aid- vouching for Tripp who gets flogged and treated as a deserter when he was merely leaving to find better shoes. Plus he gets appointed as the highest ranking enlisted man in the regiment. In the final battle at Fort Wagner, Rawlins is one of the last officers standing- as he continues to charge and lead the regiment despite the inevitable hopelessness. This movie stressed me out from the get go. I couldn't help but feel intensely anxious every time the men came close to battle. I prayed and hoped that Rawlins wouldn't die- because to be honest I just don't think I could have handled it- that is how attached I was to his character.

Actually- I pretty much suffer that same bout of attachment in every single movie he is in. I can't tell if it's because I'm such a die hard fan- or because his portrayal of these character is that dead on- I'm pretty sure it's the latter because I have yet to find someone who does not feel the slightest bit of happiness when Morgan Freeman is on camera. He's just amazing and I have no other words to say it differently.

Now for a bit of Morgan Freeman the person. He was born in Memphis Tennessee and raised by his grandmother. His first acting role came in the form of starring in the school play at the age of nine and later won a statewide drama competition at the age of 12. Instead of accepting an acting scholarship to Jackson State University, Morgan decided to train as a mechanic in the United States Air Force. Once finished with the Air Force, Morgan lived in New York and Los Angeles and soon broke through the scene in roles on Another World and The Electric Company. Somewhere in the 80s Morgan Freeman began getting some prominent supporting roles which then of course led to his success and popularity.

One of the most fascinating things I've learned about Morgan Freeman-is that he was offered a lead role in Jurassic Park. Yes that's the right- the movie I somehow manage to bring up in every blog post that I do. I can't imagine what my world/ life would have been like had Morgan Freeman been in Jurassic Park- but anyways---Morgan was unsure that dinosaurs could make "interesting co-stars". He soon took trips to museums and became extremely fascinated in the creatures- especially in the fact that they may have come from the birds we know today. Even though he turned down the role- he spent his summer reading up on ornithology- which of course later lead to his big narration role in March of the Penguins!

Now one thing that must be said about Morgan Freeman is that he has publicly criticized Black History Month- saying that he doesn't want a month- and that Black History is American History. Which unbeknownst to me-was a philosophy that we both shared. I've always found it strange that we have separate months celebrating things like Black History and Women's History- when really we should always be celebrating all kinds of history all the time. Lately however I've come to realize that our country isn't really excited by history. Months like black history month and women's history month- for lack of a better term, force people, the youth, and all different generations to gain a new knowledge and understanding of something. And for that reason alone I think it's important to celebrate and do your part to teach. Yes, I still find it strange that these months exist- but until our country is capable of understanding that we aren't so different from one another these months will continue to exist.

While he does he share of prominent and outstanding acting- Morgan Freeman is nothing short of an icon in the real world. He has stated that the only way to end racism is to "stop talking about it" and requires that interviewers stop referring to him as a "black man" and he'll stop referring to them as a "white man". He devotes his talents to several projects- that provide relief and awareness about issues concerning our country and our planet- most notably doing narrations for One Earth, which raises awareness on environmental issues.

Morgan Freeman is both an outstanding actor and person- who has played endless roles that have the ability to remain with us for a long time. What he has accomplished is inspiring and it must be said that we love him not because he is a great African American Actor- but because he is a great person. Sure his roles haven't predominately been "horror" movies per say- but his thriller count is pretty high up there. That's the beauty of Morgan Freeman though- he has the power to take any role in any genre and really affect you with his portrayal- haunting you with his powerful and calm voice- and staying with you forever. Oh Morgan Freeman. Will you marry me?
"When I was doing press for Deep Impact, reporters would always ask me how it felt to play the first black president, and I'd tell them, 'I'm not playing the first black president. I'm playing a president who happens to be black.' Or they'd ask me what sort of research I did for the role. Research? What kind of research do you need to play the president? He's a guy. Besides, we all know what presidents are like standing up there in a press conference. Hell, you don't have to do any research to play a president."

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

very well put...I like me some Morgan Freeman 2. Awesome actor.