Morgan Freeman is one of the most respected actors in Hollywood, with more than 100 credits over a career that is celebrating its 50th year. Three of Freeman’s five Oscar nominations were in the Best Actor category (“The Shawshank Redemption”, “Driving Miss Daisy”, and “Invictus”). But in the last 15 years or so, Freeman has gone from being the star of his films to playing key supporting characters who tend to pull a story together. And his presence in a cast always makes a terrible movie a little less terrible.
In “Dolphin Tale 2”, opening Friday, Freeman reprises his role from the 2011 original, scientist Dr. Cameron McCarthy. It seems like Freeman has been playing a lot of different types of doctors lately, sharing the screen with Johnny Depp in “Transcendence” and Scarlett Johansson in “Lucy”. Freeman has even coined a phrase: “Mankind Is Not Ready for This”, both on the big screen and on his Science Channel show, “Through the Wormhole”.
Some of Freeman’s most memorable performances are as God in “Bruce” and “Evan Almighty”, as well as the debonaire Lucius Fox in Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. Other notable supporting roles were in the action comedy “Red”, Tom Cruise sci-fi adventure “Oblivion”, “Wanted” alongside Angelina Jolie, “Street Smart” (his first Oscar nom), David Fincher’s “Se7en”, Ben Affleck’s “Gone Baby Gone”, 2013’s “Olympus Has Fallen” and “Now You See Me”, and Freeman’s Oscar-winning work in Clint Eastwood’s boxing drama “Million Dollar Baby”.
Another title Freeman justly deserves is “The Narrator”. His distinctive, showcase voice is just as famous as his face. 2005’s “March of the Penguins” got it started, and since then he’s been behind two IMAX nature documentaries: “Born to Be Wild 3D” and “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar”. Freeman has also narrated the updated “War of the Worlds” and “Conan the Barbarian” films, and brought Vitruvius to life in this year’s animated blockbuster, “The LEGO Movie”. When you hear that voice you immediately think class and quality, which is why he’s in such demand for commercial voice-over work as well.
After a half-century of acting roles, narrations, iconic characters and memorable quotes, the great Morgan Freeman shows no signs of letting-up. And that sounds good to me.
UPDATE: Great News – Variety has announced that Freeman is joining “Ted 2”, opening in June 2015, playing a lawyer who has to defend the raunchy teddy bear after he gets into some legal trouble. And Freeman will be playing Ildarin in the 2016 remake of “Ben-Hur”.