Morgan Freeman Serves Feast of Love


Morgan Freeman stars in MGM’s new drama Feast of Love, in which the Oscar winner plays a prestigious university professor who quietly observes the disastrous love life of coffee shop owner Bradley (Greg Kinnear) and watches the attraction and love starting between other residents of a quaint Oregon community. While the lives of the characters in the film all intertwine and somewhat center around the professor, he’s careful to not get too deeply involved and consciously allows his friends to see the situation for what it is on their own.

Morgan Freeman sat down with to talk about the film: In the movie, your character is the voice of reason and everyone comes to him for advice. Why do you think that is?
Morgan Freeman: Well because if you do represent the voice of reason, not wisdom, you didn’t say wisdom, it sort of follows that people will assume wisdom follows reason around. Not necessarily so. My character does not give out advice. If you go back and watch it, you’ll hear it. He doesn’t give advice. All the advice that he gives if I can remember is twice. He tells Greg [‘s character] to kind of count his blessings which is a suggestion rather than advice. And he tells Bat to stay away from this child. That’s advice.

CS: But they do all come to you for advice and they confide in you.
Freeman: They come to confide because he’s a ready and willing ear. He listens carefully. He listens quietly. He’s one of those people who just listens. You will notice that if you have a tendency to listen, people have a tendency to talk to you.

CS: Your character also has a tendency to observe. You were the only one who saw Bradley’s wife falling for someone else.
Freeman: Well she was certainly being intrigued by her. Yeah. But then that is the basic nature of the character that’s on the page, he’s going through this script observing what’s around him.

CS: In your life, do you feel you serve that role?
Freeman: No. No. No.

CS: Do you think your character was too busy observing other people’s lives as opposed to living his own?
Freeman: That would be the $64 question in his case. I think that they managed to get their child grown up. He wasn’t a child. He was a professional so where does parental responsibility end? It does somewhere. So I don’t know. I wouldn’t say that was the case. But then you say then what was the case and I’d have to confess I really don’t know. But then that is the problem with the character. He can’t answer that question.

CS: What brought you to this project?
Freeman: I like to work. It’s great fun to dance around with other actors so I do it on every opportunity that seems like the music is going to be good. Of course the music is sheet music that’s on the page. This was good music. There were good dancers involved so that’s a good draw. Not to mention getting paid.

CS: When you’re working with younger actors like you did on this film, do you have to put at ease.
Freeman: I don’t know if you have to. I go on set just like I walk into this room, you know. Nothing special going on here. It’s just me and us. Because there is a tendency in us to maybe revere flesh and blood and always be like, “Oh my God, it’s…” and it’s not conducive to ensemble work. You want the person you’re going to be working with on the ground, not floating up here because they’re in the presence of something that may or may not live up to the expectation. So, yeah, I work on making everybody at ease, you know. I mean we’re not here to commit brain surgery. We’re here to have fun. We’re here to make a movie. Nothing in this world can be more fun than that.

CS: Do you get the “Oh my God, it’s Morgan Freeman” thing a lot in your personal life and on the set?
Freeman: I got on the elevator one day and a lady… I thought she was going to lose it right there. Her expression was “Oh my God, Oh my God! Oh my God!” and then she started to laugh. “Oh my God, Oh my God, I can’t believe it’s you. I love you! I love you! This is my husband. I love you.” “Thank you very much. You’re very kind. How very sweet of you.” I can’t wait for the doors to open so I can get out of there.

CS: You talk about how much fun you have working, how you enjoy working in ensembles. Are there any movies over your career or even something you’ve just shot that when you think back you say, boy, that was such a great time?
Freeman: Yeah. I do.

CS: Anything you’d like to share?
Freeman: Both movies that I did with Clint Eastwood. I just finished one with Jack Nicholson and Rob Reiner. “Feast of Love” working with Benton, Greg, Jane Alexander – a complete, wonderful ensemble. Every day you wake up is “Oh, we’re going back to the set.” It’s not like, “Oh, when’s this going to be over.”

CS: Is there a role you haven’t played in your career that you would like to play?
Freeman: Yeah, lots of them. I was asked this question just a little while back. There was a character, a historical and true character, whose name was Bass Reeves who was a deputy marshal in the 1870s and ’80s, Oklahoma Territory, worked for Isaac Parker, the hanging judge, cleaning up Oklahoma Territory and making it safe for settlers, notwithstanding it was supposed to belong to the Indians. He was a very interesting character and the most interesting part about it to me is the fact that in all of the Westerns that you see, none of them seem to indicate that anybody was anything but white people and Indians and the Indians were always the bad guys except of course in “Dancing with Wolves.” So this would be an opportunity — and I have been working for close to 15 years on it — to at least be inclusive. One of the problems that we have as a nation is we don’t really know who we are because our history has largely been misrepresented. We all learn quite a lot of it by going to the movies or watching television. And I don’t care what you say or think, as a youngster, you buy it.

CS: What do you like to do on your sets when you’re not shooting scenes?
Freeman: Well I do different things. I’ve recently taken up golf. If I’m not working, I’m somewhere with a golf club in my hand chasing a ball off into the woods.

CS: How’s it going?
Freeman: Really bad.

CS: I’ve never met a golfer who doesn’t think it’s going really bad. Do you have a golf clause in your contract like Sam Jackson?
Freeman: Yeah, somebody told me “Oh, you’ve taken up golf. Well, you ought to be like Sam.” “What do you mean like Sam?” “Sam has a clause in his contract, wherever he goes he gets golf privileges. Oh yes, yes, it’s there. One of the things they always offer you is a trainer for your physical fitness, physical conditioning. Golf is better than having a trainer so they’re happy to accommodate you.

Feast of Love opens on September 28.