TAGGED AS: interviews, movies
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By his own admission, Morgan Freeman tends to play a certain sort of character.
“For the most part, I’ve played good guys, wise, s–t like that,” Freeman tells Rotten Tomatoes, although he’s quick to note that he “doesn’t have a thing about playing a bad guy.”
You’d think his latest role, as one of the leads of Zach Braff’s recently released dramedy, would naturally be one of those “good guy” roles. The film is called A Good Person, after all. But Daniel, Freeman’s character in the film, is a little bit more complicated than that. He’s wise, sure, but it’s the sort of imperfect wisdom that comes with experience. Daniel is a recovered alcoholic who is forced to reconcile with his past when he runs into Allison (Florence Pugh), his one-time future daughter-in-law who accidentally killed his daughter and son-in-law in a car crash, at an AA meeting. She’s struggling with guilt and opioid addiction, and although Daniel’s struggling himself — especially when it comes to raising his now-orphaned teenage granddaughter — he can’t help but reach out to Allison in her time of need.
A Good Person, now in theaters, feels like a spiritual sequel to Braff’s breakout film Garden State. The film contains multitudes, as does Freeman’s selection of his Five Favorite Films, which he shared with Rotten Tomatoes.
Moulin Rouge (2001)
It is probably one of the best overall conceived and executed films. It’s got the best everything. Cinematography, acting, singing, dancing. It’s just all there, really a feast for the eyes and the ears.
Moby Dick (1956)
I read the book and then when I saw the movie, there it was. I couldn’t have imagined it any different than it was when I saw it in my mind when I read the book. It was all there. Gregory Peck was just awesome. Came out in 1956… I was only 19 years old. I’ve been watching movies ever since I was eight years old and could get to them myself.
Life of Pi (2012)
Ang Lee is, I think, probably one of the best directors in the business. Life of Pi was, or was not, a very interesting fable. I was surprised at the end when the narrator was asked whether it was true or not and he said, “You decide.” It’s not likely that a hungry tiger wouldn’t have eaten him earlier on, but this one was so fantasmagorical that it could have happened. He got off the boat so that he was not going to be eaten by the tiger, and then it just became a matter of both of them trying to survive.
High Noon (1952)
This, with Gary Cooper, is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve always been a big fan of Gary Cooper’s, and this was a very interesting story of a man finding himself alone to face a man who hates him.
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
I like all movies with Clint, but The Outlaw Josey Wales is one I can’t pass up. If I’m scrolling through and I come across it, I’ve got to watch it.
James Grebey for Rotten Tomatoes: A Good Person is both a serious addiction melodrama and also a quirky comedy. How do you, as an actor, manage to cover both tones and make them feel of a piece with each other in your performance?
Morgan Freeman: There’s no trick to it. If it’s there on the script, you just do it. You don’t embellish. I try not to ever embellish, just do what I see and what I imagine I’m seeing, in a way. I don’t play the comedy scenes differently, because to me, it’s all serious. It may be a funny situation, but then that stands on its own. I don’t have to do anything special.
(Photo by Jeong Park/©MGM)
RT: What was it like working opposite Florence Pugh? I thought the two of you were a great acting match on the screen.
Freeman: Any time you work with somebody who gives you that much feedback, it’s just a fun job. We go at it wholeheartedly.
RT: In the movie, Daniel has an elaborate model train set in his basement. Do you personally have any fondness for model trains?
Gordon: The only toy I ever really wanted but never got was a toy train set.
A Good Person is currently in theaters and available to rent on VOD.
Thumbnail images by: ©20th Century Fox Film Corp., ©Warner Bros, Everett Collection