Morgan Freeman stopped by the TCA summer press tour to talk about his upcoming six-part docuseries The Story of Us, premiering in the fall on the National Geographic Channel. The series follows Freeman’s global journey to uncover the fundamental forces that keep our societies together, while revealing the common humanity that lies inside each of us.
“I’ve always been curious, some people call it nosy. That is the driving force of wanting to do and loving to do this type of material,” Freeman said when asked what attracted him to the project. It puts you face-to-face “with people way outside your experience,” he added.
Freeman was joined by fellow exec producers Lori McCreary and James Younger, the team behind predecessor series The Story of God, along with subjects of the doc: former prison inmate and “Angola Three” member Albert Woodfox; Joshua Coombes, founder of social campaign #DoSomethingForNothing; and Megan Phelps-Roper, a former member of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church.
“What we’re looking for is how we are linked together. In the history of humanity is always the story of us and the story them,” said Younger, expanding on the show’s mission. “We live in a time where people think that the ‘them’ is getting bigger and the ‘us’ is getting smaller. We felt like this is time to focus on what brings us together and see if we can open people eyes to how we can incorporate more of ‘them’ into ‘us.'”
Freeman, who also hosts The Story of Us, was asked if this experience had impacted views on his acting career in terms of what stories he wanted to tell going forward. He insisted that the two exist on different plains.
“What I always wanted to do in film is revisionist history,” he said. “In film, I just needed to belong. I grew up watching film and not seeing enough of me. My film career was predicated on being able to see me. That doesn’t cross over to this line of fire. This is a completely different set of rules to live by. What I’m getting the most joy out of is meeting all these type of people.”
The show is produced by Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment and each of the six hourlong episodes will include a single fundamental force or topic, such as strength of belief, the thirst for power, how love shapes us, the role conflict plays in our lives, the spirit of rebellion and the concept of freedom.
The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman premieres October 11 on National Geographic Channel.