Morgan Freeman stopped by the TCA summer press tour last month to talk about his upcoming six-part docu-series “The Story of Us,” premiering in the fall on the National Geographic Channel.
The series follows Freeman as he travels the globe in search of an answer to one fundamental question for humanity: what are the common forces that bind us together?
“I’ve always been curious, some people call it nosy. That is the driving force of wanting to do and loving to do this type of material,” Freeman said when asked what attracted him to the project. It puts you face-to-face “with people way outside your experience.”
When EUR/Electronic Urban Report correspondent Ny MaGee asked Mr. Freeman if exploring the human condition through this series has influenced the types of characters he wants to give life to at this point in his career, he replied:
“No. I think what I’ve always wanted to do in film is sort of revisionist history. In film, I just need to belong. I grew up in the movies, watching them, and not seeing enough of me, none of me. So my film career is actually predicated on being able to see me. That doesn’t cross over to this line of fire. This is a completely different set of rules, I guess, I can use to live by,” he explained.
Adding, “Now what I’m getting the most joy out of is meeting all of these different people, sitting down and having a one-on-one conversation with them, and realizing that, gee, I just talked with someone from the other side of the world, and they are saying pretty much the same thing. They are just using a different language.”
Executive Producer Lori McCreary chimed in with “It’s interesting because one of the things that we learned from “The Story of God,” we weren’t sure, quite frankly, how Morgan would be in more of an interviewer/interviewee situation. But we’ve known Morgan for a long time, and we know that when he’s one-on-one with anyone, if any of you have had the pleasure, he’s ultimately curious,” she said.
“And what we saw in “The Story of God” was, wow, he’s bringing out something in these individuals that we might not have otherwise gotten if we had just brought along an actor for hire. And it’s one of the things that inspired us to go further in “The Story of Us,” which was let’s tell some more intimate stories that talk about how we are all connected and how similar we all are in love, in freedom, in war and peace. And I think that without someone like Morgan, who can really get to the center of these wonderful people, it might not be as impactful, and with him, it’s impactful,” she added.
“I agree with that,” said Morgan.
Mr. Freeman also noted of this filming experience that the subjects profiled confirm that despite our differences, at our core, we’re all the same.
“Human society is a tapestry. It’s not made from the exact same fabric. So these stories, meaning these people, are in my own life, weaving a whole other pattern for me to live in and believe in. So I find it very exciting,” he said.
So, does Mr. Freeman see himself in any of the subjects he’s spoken to for “The Story of Us”?
“No, not in every individual but certainly in Albert’s case,” he said.
Albert Woodfox is a former Angola 3 inmate whose story will be explored on the series.
“I grew up in the South, single-parent situation, having the opportunity to take the wrong path. Knock on wood I didn’t. But when I sit with Albert and people like him, yes, I have that exact feeling, there but for the grace of really good luck,” said Freeman.
“The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman” premieres Wednesday, October 11.
(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
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