Morgan Freeman Misses Working With Gene Hackman

Actor sits down for SiriusXM Town Hall and some Unforgiven memories.

Premiering this afternoon at 1 p.m. ET, SiriusXM’s latest Town Hall special features EW’s Kyle Anderson in conversation with 5 Flights Up director Richard Loncraine and star Morgan Freeman. The movie, opening today, casts Freeman and Diane Keaton as a couple selling their longtime New York City apartment.

From Anderson’s interview preview:

An audience question about Unforgiven inspired a cool tale about Gene Hackman, who starred in the 1992 Best Picture winner alongside Freeman and Clint Eastwood. In one famous scene, Hackman interrogates Freeman (it does not end well for Freeman), and the look of terror expressed on Freeman’s face is legendary. How was he able to conjure such intensity without using words?

“The essence to me of acting is listening,” Freeman said. “Gene leaned into my ear and he said, and I’ll paraphrase this, ‘I’m gonna ask you some questions, and if your answers don’t match up with the answers that I’ve already got, I’m gonna hurt you.’ I believed him.”

Freeman also expressed dismay that he can no longer work with Hackman, now 85 and happily writing novels from a home office in Santa Fe. In some cases, Hackman co-writes his books with Daniel Lenihan. In a 2014 interview with Lenihan, Hackman said he does not miss the demands of on-location filming.