You gotta admit, Morgan Freeman does have that voice! The voice that’s so commanding yet smooth, so full of validity that he could easily convince you that paying money to go see the kind of National Geographics documentary on the sex life of penguinsthat you could see in your home for free on any given Sunday afternoon was a rich and rewarding experience. The man may as well be a Jedi Master. Forget “Jedi”, the man was already the first black president (sorry Barack Obama and Dennis Haysbert) and then got promoted to GOD.
So, it can be jarring to watch Morgan Freeman as a bad guy in WANTED. Not just a bad guy- the BADDEST of the bad! The leader of Angelina Jolie and the rest of ‘The Fraternity”, a league of assassins.
If you are going to see WANTED I’d like to cushion the blow for you by pointing out that this is not the first time Morgan Freeman has not been the lovable, ol’ uncle you like to think of him as:
In Ben Affleck's masterpiece, GONE, BABY, GONE, Morgan Freeman engineers the death of several people just so he can adopt a white baby. It's kind of a reverse "Diff'rent Strokes", with guns an cussing...which wasn't a part of Diff'rent stokes until it was off the air.
Back in 2003 Morgan Freeman was a straight-up weirdo, homicidal mercenary in DREAMCATCHER. You don’t even have to see the movie (better you don’t, really), you can tell he’s evil just looking at those ‘old Chinese master’ eyebrows and that haircut he stole from the Fresh Prince.
In HARD RAINMorgan Freeman shows up as a bank robber who tries to save Christian Slater’s career. It was pretty much…a wash. (ouch!)
But those examples are nothing! Except for DREAMCATCHER, he’s more of an anti-hero than a villain in those movies. Now for my favorite movie where you get to see Morgan Freeman as not just a villain, but a truly EVIL sumbitch, you have to go back to 1987’s STREET SMART. As “Fast Black” the pimp he scares the hell out of poor Christopher Reeve and the rest of the audience.
Check it out:
If you look real close you’ll see me walk by as an extra in the basketball scene. I was temporarily hired on as a consultant to show Morgan how to properly “choke a bitch”…but it turned out he already knew more than me.
BTW- I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that even before STREET SMART when Morgan Freeman was Easy READER by day he was already moonlighting as Blackula. So it never was really all that much of a stretch for him.