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Morgan Freeman talks prosthetics for dolphins

Dolphin Tale in 3D
06 October 2011

DOLPHIN TALE in cinemas on October 14, is inspired by the amazing true story of a brave dolphin and the compassionate strangers who banded together to save her life.

DOLPHIN TALE has a great cast including Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jnr, and Ashley Judd alongside many wonderful animals. But the real star is “Winter”, who plays herself in the film, and today serves as a symbol of courage, perseverance and hope to millions of people.

In advance of the release, we caught up with Morgan Freeman, who plays Dr. Ken McCarthy, a prosthetic doctor who defys conventional medicine and develops the prosthetic tale for Winter.



You have so many movies in various stages of production.  You’ve been busy.

Morgan Freeman: I’ve been a little busy, yeah.  It happens in spurts like that.  Months and months you don’t do anything, and then, all of a sudden, you don’t have time to turn around.  That’s good.


But it’s your choice basically, isn’t it?

Morgan Freeman: Oh, yes.  Well, not having anything to do is not my choice.  But when you get busy, that’s your choice.  You can always say no.


The man you play in Dolphin Tale, who develops this prosthetic for the dolphin, is he based on an actual scientist?

Morgan Freeman: Well, this whole story’s based on a true incident with that dolphin, and yes, it’s kind of based on the guy.  In other words, he did it.  I don’t look anything close to like him or I don’t sound like him, feel like him, look like him.  There’s nothing between us that matches.  But it is based on a real guy.


So did you meet him at all?

Morgan Freeman: I met him, yeah.


Did you pick up any character traits or…?

Morgan Freeman: No, I take those character traits right off the script.  And, see, I wasn’t necessarily playing a real person; it’s just the fact that a real person actually did this.


What attracted you to this role?

Morgan Freeman: Well, I just thought it was a good story, you know?  I think it’s real good family affair, just what they used to call a crashing good story.  But it is very kid-friendly.  See, I have young grands and great grands, so the idea of them being able to go and see something like that and get a little bit of a boost in some of the values that are out there to learn in life are good.  It’s good.  Good to be involved in that.


Can you talk about your experiences filming here in Tampa Bay for the second time?  Does it stack up to some of the locations where you’ve worked over the years?

Morgan Freeman: You’re asking the wrong person, and I’m going to tell you why.  I don’t do anything.  I go to work.  I get up in the morning, I go to the set.  In the evening, I go back to the hotel.  I would find, generally, my nice restaurants, and you go and eat and go home.  I don’t sight-see; I don’t tour around, primarily because it’s a little difficult to move around when you’ve got a high profile.


It seems very beautiful in this movie when you realize how the disabled dolphin is inspirational to disabled veterans in this movie, and then children with disabilities also.  Can you just talk about that a little bit?

Morgan Freeman: I can talk a little bit about it, but I don’t know anything about it.  I think my character’s whole challenge was not seeing how this dolphin was inspirational, but, I mean, he was inspired to get the job done.  This was like a challenge.  All of these things are for these inventors, people who create ways for people to function.

I know a guy.  His name was Dean Cayman, and he’s a vet, and he’s worked out.  Well, they can put a prosthesis on your arm; if you’re amputated above the elbow, he can make you fingers.  It’s just a challenge for these guys of solving a problem.  It becomes his problem.  And this is however I say, you wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, and he gets up, and that’s paramount. 



Have you worked with Charles Martin Smith before?

Morgan Freeman:  Oh, this is my first time working with Charles.


What was it like working with him?

Morgan Freeman: He was terrific.  You always have fun with a director who knows what he’s doing, what he wants, and has big ears.


You mean that he can listen?

Morgan Freeman: Yeah.  And a sort of a stand-away attitude, you know.  I don’t much like being directed. 


Do you have any thoughts about directing anything soon yourself?

Morgan Freeman: No.  No, too much work.


When you look back at your extraordinary career and all the films you’ve done, do you ever watch one or two of them especially that you feel personally connected to?

Morgan Freeman: Well, I think I know what you’re asking me, and I think the answer is no, I don’t watch them.  I have trouble watching myself.  I just don’t ever see that I’m as good as the hype.  And when people do these kind of retrospectives, you get a little glimpse of the different things you’re in, like the AFI Tribute, I love those because they just pick out special moments.


Your accident was about three years ago? 

Morgan Freeman: Three years ago in August.


But it hasn’t slowed you down.

Morgan Freeman:  Knock wood, you know, because I’m still workable.  And when I’m doing something, there’s no pain.  It’s just that sometimes I’m just still and it’ll just grab you like some kid beats up and bites you real hard.


There are so many remakes now.  Is there any movie that you’d like to remake?

Morgan Freeman: Can’t do it now, but I always wanted to redo Shane.  I talked to Alan Ladd, Jr.  We were doing An Unfinished Life.  And he said, ‘You know, we should do Shane.’  I thought, ‘Oh, yes, absolutely.’  I’ve always thought I would love to redo Shane.  It’d be a different story.  It’d be a completely different story.  But, you know, they said we’d have to cast it and we don’t want to mess with it.



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