Born in Memphis, raised in Mississippi, four years in the Air Force, acted off- and then on-Broadway, spent the ’70s on The Electric Company, spent the early ’80s on Another World, earned one Oscar nomination as the street smart one in Street Smart, earned another Oscar nomination as the one who wasn’t Miss Daisy in Driving Miss Daisy, stole Robin Hood from Kevin Costner, almost stole Unforgiven from Clint Eastwood: This is what Morgan Freeman did for his first 57 years on this planet. Technically.
But even if you know that Freeman had been a working actor for close to three decades beforehand, it’s still possible to watch him in The Shawshank Redemption and feel like you are witnessing the birth of an icon: Newly arrived, yet fully formed. Freeman is not the star of the movie–or rather, his character never announces himself as the star of the movie. Freeman plays Red, one of many convicts spending a lifetime of long days inside the walls of a state penitentiary. The subject of Shawshank‘s story is Tim Robbins’s Andy Dufresne–but Red is the guy telling the story. And Freeman’s voice infuses the whole movie with emotional breadth: now wry amusement; now light pathos; now genuine horror; now ecstasy; now agony. READ FULL STORY