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The Bucket List - Morgan Freeman interview

Morgan Freeman in The Bucket List

Interview by Rob Carnevale

MORGAN Freeman talks about some of the issues raised by The Bucket List, his personal passion for golf and what it was like appearing with his son in the film…

Q. The film is marvellous because it makes it very clear how important it is to find joy in your life. Can you tell us how you went about finding the personal joy in your life and what it was?
Morgan Freeman: Well, that’s a very complicated question. I think that finding joy is probably tantamount to finding yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. I think that’s a joyful place because one you get there it’s like ice cream. I think that whoever comes into your orbit gets a part of that reflection that is the joy of you.

Q. You seem to enjoy a great chemistry on-screen but your characters are completely different from who you both are off-screen. How did you go about creating that chemistry? Was it by working against each other?
Morgan Freeman: I don’t even know how that gets into the vernacular. Actors cannot work against each other. It’s totally impossible. Philip Seymour Hoffman, when he received the Screen Actors’ Guild Award, was very succinct in his explanation of actors and acting. He said: “We’re watching each other’s backs, all the time.”

The better the actor, usually the safer you feel working with. It’s just that because that’s the bottom line on getting up and trying to bear yourself with someone else. There’s an exercise we do where someone is sat behind you and you’re asked to close your eyes and fall backwards. That’s acting.

Q. Your son also appears in the film as your son. How was working with him?
Morgan Freeman: It was fun. Being my son, he had a lot of trepidation – not so much about how well he would do but more about how well I would think of him. I’d have to constantly reassure him that he was doing it for the director. So if he liked what you do then go home and have a drink.

Q. If you had to make a list of three things you’d like to do before you die, what would be on it? And is there a favourite lady you’d like to see before you depart?
Morgan Freeman: I’ve just recently taken up golf so most of the things on my list have to do with golf [laughs]. I’m also very fond of a light business jet, so I’d like to get it before it’s too late. Which lady would I like to meet? Um, I don’t know that there’s anybody left that I didn’t meet. But the one that I really wanted to meet died and that was Princess Diana. I really wanted to get to know her. I like her.

Q. Do you subscribe to the view that comedy is one of the hardest things to do?
Morgan Freeman: I don’t do comedy [straight faced]. I think if a situation is funny you just play it for real and if it’s funny, it’s funny.

Q. What is your favourite comedy and why?
Morgan Freeman: No, you can’t because I don’t remember what my favourite comedy film is – truthfully! I saw Borat and I thought I was not going to be able to get out of the theatre because I was in so much pain from the laughter. So, was that my favourite comedy film? It may be the funniest but I’m not sure it’s my favourite. I remember some Abbott and Costello films that left me weak.

Q. If you had the choice between hanging up your golf clubs and winning another couple of Oscars, which would you choose?
Morgan Freeman: [Looks stunned] Why do you ask a question like that? Well, I just took up golf so I’m not so married to it… [laughs] I don’t think so, no! Did I answer the question?

Read our review of The Bucket List