One might argue that Morgan Freeman, 80, has been making movies about retirement since the start of his career, steering into the spotlight as Jessica Tandy’s patient chauffeur in Driving Miss Daisy in 1989. Since then he’s danced around senior stories with Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List and with Bruce Willis in Red, last year starring in two films about retirement – Going In Style and Just Getting Started, which opened for nationwide release December 8, 2017. One of the busiest actors in Hollywood, when he’s not working he can be found piloting his own plane, sailing the Caribbean on his yacht or raising bees at his 124-acre ranch in Charleston, Mississippi.
Here he tells Senior Planet his thoughts about social media, superhero movies, the price of fame, and why he’ll never retire.
Senior Planet: You’re in two recent movies with themes for and about “grownups.” Is Hollywood finally waking up to the fact that there’s an older population who isn’t interested in superhero movies?
Morgan: Sometimes it takes Hollywood a little while to figure out where the demographics have moved but when they do, they jump right on it, therefore the roles I’m offered are starting to proliferate more. The boomers are coming of age and that’s a large group of people.
Senior Planet: Lots of actors – and older people – are very active on social media, but not you. Why’s that?
Morgan: I prefer texts – because then I have to answer them, for the most part. But a lot of times, I don’t get around to answering, and then I hear weeks after: “I sent you a text. Did you get it?”
Senior Planet: Your most recent movie, Just Getting Started, sees you managing a luxury retirement community. Do you see one in your own future?
Morgan: No, I would not like to be forced to live with a lot of other people. I cherish my privacy.
Senior Planet: Do people bother you at home in Mississippi?
Morgan: I don’t have to worry about that. I’ve been home now for many years so they all got their selfies years ago and they’re done with it now. I can go shopping and eat in restaurants.
Senior Planet: Lots of older people find it difficult to stay in shape. How do you manage?
Morgan: I work out at my home gym and use some of the dance exercises I’ve been doing for years. I don’t work out on the road. I can’t go to public gyms. Even if there’s a nice hotel gym, I can’t go there because everyone goes ‘Oh my god’ and they get the cameras out. Everyone wants you to stop whatever you’re doing and have a selfie. So I say, “No but thank you very much for asking.”
Senior Planet: Is it easy to have meaningful friendships within the entertainment industry?
Morgan: It’s tough because showbusiness is showbusiness. You’re in this business to sell the glamour, but it’s not real.
Senior Planet: When you first started out on stage, did you expect to get rich?
Morgan: No. Becoming an actor is a big risk. I don’t care what your reasons for doing it are; you’re gonna have to step off the cliff. I’m from Mississippi of sable persuasion, and my parents were domestics for a while. I’m not saying that I came from poverty because I think poverty is more of a state of mind than a state of being.
Senior Planet: Is retirement on your horizon?
Morgan: No. Why would I do that? I can afford to retire – but now I work just for fun.
Senior Planet: What’s your secret to ageing with attitude?
Morgan: To live in the present. The past is the past, and I keep looking for tomorrow. I haven’t had one of those kinds of lives where you cling to nostalgia. I’m just too curious to die. I want to live forever!