Morgan Freeman: A heavenly Hollywood talent

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In an age of superhero movies and Pokemon Go!, how do you think audiences will relate to or find appeal in Ben-Hur?
You have different audiences. You have the youth factor. They are going to flood your superhero movies, action movies, where “Follow me! Wait here!” is most of the dialogue. And then you have this kind of world-renowned epic story that, in itself, is heroic, which usually will appeal to a broader audience. That’s the essential difference, I think. How broad can an audience be for a particular film or story?

Timur taps into this action aspect.
Yes, he’s very, very good at that. You’ve got so much great technology. You can’t beat a GoPro.

You played God how many times?
Twice.

You filmed this in Italy for several months. What did you do during your downtime?
I was staying at this very nice hotel, the Cavaliere. I could see the Vatican from my hotel window. They have on the seventh floor a very nice lounge to hang out. It’s quiet. People don’t come running over to you with their cameras and want to take pictures. There was a nice lady who ran this part of the hotel and our favorite restaurant, Luciano’s. Oh man, it was so great there. That was about it. I’m no longer able to walk the streets in any city of the world that I’ve been in.

Have you ever not been given a role you wanted?
Yeah. Probably one of the misperceptions about being an actor is that people think you can do whatever you want to do. Nope. You can’t. Clint Eastwood can’t do what he wants to do. It doesn’t work that way.

What do you look for in a character these days?
Money… and a nice place to stay.

Do you have something else coming up?
Yes. It’s another remake. It’s called Going in Style, which stars Michael Caine and Christopher Lloyd. It’s directed by Zach Braff. We’re three old guys that are pissed off at life, and the banks have a lot to do with our being pissed off. Remember when people were getting foreclosed and when they’d made all of these bank loans, which were so easy to get and then they shifted them around? It’s about that. It’s a comedy. I’m told a very funny comedy.

What’s your secret to staying so humble in Hollywood?
I don’t live here. I go where people put you in your place.

Do you ever think of stopping? Just hang out on your boat?
No. I’m not going to stop. I’m going to be stopped. When the phone stops ringing, that’s when I’ll say: “OK, it was a nice ride. Thank you very much.”