When Morgan Freeman walks into a room filled with journalists from around the world, all eyes are on him. He’s a lot taller — and even more intimidating — than we assumed.
As the strapping 77-year-old marches to his seat, his childlike enthusiasm is evident, what with him demanding a round of applause from bewildered-looking reporters, who burst into laughter when they realise he’s just being cheeky.
Settling down at a press conference in Los Angeles, USA, he talks about serving as executive producer (EP) for Madam Secretary, a new political drama starring Téa Leoni as a fictional secretary of state of the country.
Ask what inspired him to get involved with the show and he says, “This was an extraordinary idea. I really think it’s time for women to take over, so it’s right up my alley.”
When asked about the extent of his involvement, Freeman — who has produced films and even a TV mini-series in the past — acknowledges that while his name is attached to the project, he isn’t actually doing much. “EP is just a title. I can come in anytime, but it’s not necessary. It’s like having too many cooks in the kitchen,” he says.
The veteran actor feels that the show, which will air exclusively in India on AXN in January next year, has come at a great time. “I’ve stated openly that I think the world will be better off if there are more women in power. They aren’t so concerned about their cojones. So a lot of the strife that we’re experiencing, I think, would be ameliorated in those circumstances. My vote is for women in power,” he says.
As for the casting of Leoni, he adds, “Some people come in and say they like the role, and others indicate an ability to play it. But then, one actor comes along and just owns it. That’s what happened here.”
When it’s pointed out to him that there’s a sudden influx of political dramas -– especially those set in Washington DC – Freeman insists that it’s got nothing to do with the US having an accessible President. “If there was a correlation, and the audiences were that involved with DC itself, we would’ve had a better voter turnout. When you’re watching TV, you’re just watching what could be, and not what is. That separates the two,” he explains.