We hit the red carpet at this past Saturday's "A Candid Conversation with Morgan Freeman" gala to find out what renowned actor Morgan Freeman really thought of Siskel and Ebert, and why director Jon Turteltaub wants to work with Freeman again.
Acclaimed actor Morgan Freeman and director Jon Turteltaub.
This weekend, The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) celebrated Hollywood A-listers with its event, “A Candid Conversation with Morgan Freeman.” The Academy Award-winning actor and former Chicago resident sat down with director Jon Turteltaub—who directed Freeman in Last Vegas—for a discussion about his legendary on-screen work. Freeman was presented with the Gene Siskel Film Center Renaissance Award (past honorees include Gwyneth Paltrow and George Lucas) for his role in advancing the art of film.
We caught up with Freeman and Turteltaub on the red carpet to get their thoughts on the award, the film industry, and the Windy City.
Morgan Freeman on Siskel and Ebert, and today’s growing film industry.
Morgan Freeman won the Gene Siskel Film Center Renaissance Award this past Saturday evening.
When asked what it means to receive the Renaissance Award, Freeman shared his connection with the late Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. “Roger and Gene were really nice to me, my entire career,” Freeman said. “One of the best interviews anybody ever did with me was done by Roger Ebert [in the] Chicago Sun Times.”
The legendary film critics were clear fans of Freeman. “‘Two Thumbs Up’ from Siskel and Ebert was always a shoe-in for me,” Freeman said. “Neither of them ever said anything bad about my work. So I’m in their corner, also.”
As for the entertainment industry as a whole, Freeman said, “I think the whole television and film industry is growing, because there are so many outlets now; there’s so much that’s doable. It’s great! [It] just means we have more work.”
Freeman, a former Chicago resident, has done some filming here, and it seems even this legend isn’t immune to our winters: “I’ve done a few projects here in Chicago—one at the wrong time of the year—and it was… whooo!”
Jon Turteltaub on working with Freeman, and his favorite Chicago food.
Jon Turteltaub really wants to work with Morgan Freeman again.
“Directing Morgan is joyous because there’s so little you have to do,” Turteltaub said about working with Freeman on Last Vegas. “The worry for a director, first of all, is that his movie is going to be bad and, second of all, that it’s going to be his fault. With Morgan, you just know the movie is going to be good, and that everything he’s doing is good, so you can relax.”
As for working with Freeman on future projects? “I would like to do another movie with Morgan Freeman, that’s for damn sure,” Turteltaub said.
The director had only the best words to describe Freeman. “There’s something unpretentious about Morgan, but always respectful. Morgan is kind of like who we all should be: Somebody you take seriously, but who doesn’t take himself too seriously. We all should aspire to be a man like this.”
Turteltaub, a Chicago fan, likes to keep it simple when he’s in the city: “If I can’t go to a sporting event, I’ll watch one on TV… and eat.”