Very few actors are able to say they have played the highest power on screen -- the vision of God. George Burns probably qualifies as the most recognizable take on the Lord and Savior, though smooth-voiced Morgan Freeman also took a crack at it a couple of times. So now, when younger actors ask the Shawshank co-star how they should approach the role of God in a movie, Freeman has the best advice possible: stick to the script, dummy. The Ben-Hur star says:
Morgan Freeman has reached that stage of his illustrious career where the Oscar winner just isn't going to suffer fools. You can take all of that Method mumbo jumbo (I'm looking at you, Jared Leto), and stick it in your silly Joker hat. Morgan Freeman doesn't care if you are playing God, or a dude who professionally debunks magicians. The best thing you can do is stick to the script. And why wouldn't you? As an actor, no matter the role, you have been hired to bring a screenplay to life. Everything that you need should be in the pages of the script. Of course, when possible, one can pull from everyday life experiences. But seeing as how Morgan Freeman, in real life, has never been a dolphin rehabilitator (Dolphin Tale), a boxing gym trainer (Million Dollar Baby) or God (Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty), he has to rely on the written word to help bring a performance like this to fruition.
These quotes on Morgan Freeman's simplified approach to acting were acquired by NDTV as the actor was preparing to release Ben-Hur, a new pass on the classic tale of the Jewish man during the time of the Christ who engages his mortal enemy in a massive chariot race to save his family, and his people. The original movie, released in 1959, starred Charlton Heston and Jack Hawkins in a drama directed by William Wyler. The new version is being directed by Timur Bekmambetov, and co-stars Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, and Rodrigo Santoro.
For more on Morgan Freeman's impeccable acting tips, he was a guest on Bravo's Inside the Actor's Studio, though that episode doesn't seem to be available on any YouTube pages (which normally archive the show's full run, so that's odd). Here's the Ben-Hur trailer, instead. It opens everywhere on Friday, August 19.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.