Morgan Freeman’s Advice to Actors
His advice to all actors remains as simple as it is universal: keep going and don’t quit on your dreams
(by Carmichael Phillips)
What’s Morgan Freeman’s advice to aspiring actors?
In his own words:
“The only advice I have for any actor is, keep acting. Just keep working. And keep your mind on what you want. It’s bound to happen if you keep working.”
Morgan Freeman is one of the greatest and most prolific actors of his generation. It’s not just his numerous Oscar, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award nominations that set him apart. It’s also the sheer volume and variety of work he has amassed over the course of his 50-plus year career.
Freeman, an American actor from Memphis, Tennessee, began his acting career in the mid-sixties and gained his earliest success in theatre, on the kid’s show, Electric Company, and on the television soap opera, Another World. But his first true breakout role came in 1987, when he was cast as “Fast Black” in the film, Street Smart, starring Christopher Reeve.
His fame continued to grow in the 80’s and 90’s, with memorable roles like “Hoke” in Driving Miss Daisy (1989), “Sergeant Major Rawlins” in Glory (1989) and as “Red” in Shawshank Redemption (1994), along with roles in films like Unforgiven (1992), Seven (1995) and Deep Impact (1998). In 2005, Freeman won his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as “Eddie ‘Scrap Iron’ Dupris” in Million Dollar Baby.
More recently, Freeman has appeared in films like The Bucket List (2007), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Lucy (2014) and the Fallen film series: Olympus Has Fallen (2013), London Has Fallen (2016) and Angel Has Fallen (2019).
“Don’t give up. Do not give up! Sometimes things always look darkest just before the dawn.”
With a résumé that most actors would kill for, it’s fascinating that his advice to actors is not to train at any particular school or to learn any particular acting technique or to use some special trick to achieve success. No! It’s simply to never, ever quit or give up.
It’s the same sage advice that he himself followed, on his way to building his own impressive career.
“I said to myself at one point, “Ok. I’m gonna do it or die. That’s it. I’ll starve to death, if necessary, but I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna stick with this job. And that’s my advice. Don’t give up. Do not give up! Sometimes things always look darkest just before the dawn.”
(Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy)
Morgan Freeman’s incredible commitment to each role he takes on is only surpassed by his supreme commitment to the craft of acting. Freeman once said that if he never became famous, he would still continue to act in local theatres or wherever he could find work.
Actor, Anthony Mackie, has credited Freeman for advising him to turn down high-paying roles that did not add to his growth as an actor and, instead, to take roles that help develop his craft. According to Mackie, Freeman’s advice is the best advice he received in the early stages of his career.
But his advice to all actors remains as simple as it is universal: keep going and don’t quit on your dreams.
“The advice I have to anybody – ANYBODY – in just about any walk of life that you want to go into, particularly this one, which is really hard to get into: the surest way to fail at it is to quit.”
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