Morgan Freeman recalls iconic roles in 'Lean on Me' and 'Glory' 25 years later

theGRIO REPORT - In an interview with theGrio, Freeman reflected on his past work in Hollywood as this year marks the 25-year anniversary of two of his iconic films: 'Glory' and 'Lean On Me.'

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Morgan Freeman is starring in a new sci-fi thriller that gives viewers a glimpse into the future.

The film, Transcendence, hits theaters Friday and it explores the endless — and wild — possibilities of what could happen when a terminally ill scientist (played by Johnny Depp) uploads his mind to a computer.

In an interview with theGrio, Freeman shared his own thoughts on what the future may hold. Meanwhile, he also reflected on his past work in Hollywood, as this year marks the 25-year anniversary of two of his iconic films: Glory and Lean On Me.

theGrio slideshow: Morgan Freeman’s top 10 film roles

For many people, the prolific, 76-year-old actor will forever be associated with his role of real-life principal Joe Clark from 1989’s Lean on Me — a film about the struggles of an inner-city school and its troubled student population.

Many of the conflicts the movie portrayed are still relevant today and Freeman shared with his own assessment of young black America today with theGrio.

“We don’t have one young black America, we have two or three young black Americas,” Freeman said. “There is one where kids are doing quite well but there are not that many and not quite enough. There’s another where kids are struggling and trying to stay in school — and another where they’re hopeless.”

Glory, which was also released in 1989, paired Freeman alongside fellow A-lister Denzel Washington. Both actors portrayed soldiers in the legendary 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, which was the first American military unit composed of black men in the Civil War.

“Very few people knew about the 54th [Massachusetts] infantry or any black involvement in the Civil War. It was one of the best things I did,” Freeman told theGrio. “That information was totally hidden from the world at large.”

The film was one of the most iconic in both Freeman and Washington’s early careers. And Washington won a best supporting actor Academy Award for his role.

When asked whether he knew at the time that both he and Washington would become two of the most bankable actors in Hollywood, Freeman said: “No but I considered Denzel well on his way. As for me, I thought I was, too.”

Now, Freeman is starring in another likely blockbuster with Transcendence. 

The fictional film sheds light on the scientific theory that the world’s computers could one day pose a threat to society. Yet, while this idea may seem a bit outlandish, Transcendence shows that the concept may not be so far-fetched.

Freeman talks about how the movie deals with the danger of the world’s growing dependence and integration with technology – and shares a few futuristic theories of his own.

“Most people in modern society have a cell phone and have almost total dependency on that technology. Imagine what would happen if for some reason satellite communication was snubbed and that it would end the Internet. [It would] end life as life,” Freeman told theGrio.

“I don’t have any idea. My fantasy is we may face opposition from the planet itself; there is talk or questions about whether the ocean is a living thing. Let’s for a moment imagine that it is and we are doing great, great damage to it — if it’s a living thing, will it recognize that we are its enemy and if so, what would it do?”

Transcendence hits theaters nationwide this Friday.

Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works