Morgan Freeman’s personal promise nearly destroyed his acting career.
It’s hard to beleive that an actor as talented as Morgan Freeman would struggle to land an acting job. But, the 78-year-old Hollywood actor says that’s exactly what happened when he first started acting in the 1980s. Freeman was upset by the type movie roles available to African Americans.
Morgan Freeman told “Oprah’s Master Class”, that he had made a promise to himself before he ever got into the film industry, based on all of the movies he watched as kid in Chicago.
I went to the movies all the time. Ive seen the movies. And at some point, it struck me rather dramatically how much I wasnt in the movies, not the way I needed to be in the movies, Freeman said. If you look at a lot of the disaster movies in that period, the only people left on the planet were white. Now, my thing is, if I get in the movies, I want to make sure that I speak about that.
It’s a promise he kept, even calling out casting directors in the middle of auditions. One of the most memorable things happened when Morgan Freeman auditioned for a role in “The Thing.”
I read the script, and I go back for the audition. The producer or director, one of those, said, Did you read the script?… What did you think? Freeman recalled. I said, Well, youve got 11 people at the South Pole. Eight of them are scientists. Then you have a cook, a mechanic and something else; theyre all black. None of the scientists are. What do you think I think?
Needless to say, I didnt get that job, he continued, with a chuckle. So, there was a period there in the early 80s when I didnt get any work.
Then, in the late 80s, Freeman was cast in the Academy Award-winning film Glory, about the first all-African American formal military unit. It was a role he was truly proud of.
I was just floored, because I knew about the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, Freeman said. The history is there to draw upon, but weve got to ask ourselves we, me, black people why dont we figure more in it?
Since then, Morgan Freeman’s acting career has been on fire. He has landed award winning roles and as he decided at the start of his career, Freeman hasn’t compromised his personal values. I need something thats going to engage me, that makes me sit up and think, Freeman said. I refuse to take part in anything that is going to denigrate a people. Especially me.
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