Morgan Freeman admits he’s “envious” of Denzel Washington

Morgan Freeman is one of the iconic black actors known for his brilliant screen performances and distinctive baritone voice. However, in an interview, Freeman revealed that he was “envious” of other veteran actors Denzel Washingtonhis career.

He shared that Washington, who is 17 years his junior, is “doing what I wanted him to do.” Freeman admired his co-star’s performance, highlighting his ability to charm the audience. Unlike Washington, Freeman began his career in an era with strict restrictions on black actors appearing on screen.

Read on to learn more.

“He’s doing what I wanted him to do.”

Morgan Freeman at the AFI Honors Denzel Washington at the Dolby Theater on June 6, 2019 in Los Angeles, California

In an interview The Sunday Times, Acclaimed actor Morgan Freeman, known for his roles in films such as ‘A Good Man’ starring Florence Pugh, has revealed that he is envious of 68-year-old Denzel Washington.

During his conversation with the news station, per Insiderthe 85-year-old reflected on his career trajectory and admired Washington’s achievements, saying he’s “so envious of Denzel’s career because he’s doing what I wanted him to do.”

The “Shawshank” star revealed that he found Washington admirable to see the young man continue to take on ambitious projects and work with big-name directors such as Steve McQueen and Paul Thomas Anderson, even in the “autumn of life.” Freeman has voiced his desire to pursue similar opportunities.

Morgan Freeman’s early career in the Hays Code era

Angel Has Fallen - Los Angeles Premiere

Washington, who is 17 years younger than Freeman, had a very different experience in acting. Freeman’s early career coincided with the Hays Code era in the United States. As reported NPRthe Hays Code imposed strict restrictions on content for major movie studios, including a ban on on-screen interracial romance.

This policy lasted for almost four decades, from 1934 to 1968. As a result, Freeman’s early years as an actor had a significant impact, mainly from theater work and appearing in the children’s show “The Electric Company”.

Freeman was only 52 years old, won a Golden Globe and received an Oscar nomination in 1989 for his iconic role in Driving Miss Daisy, and it was only then that he began to take on more ambitious and high-profile positions. From then on, his career took off and Freeman appeared in more than 100 films, including such iconic films as ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and ‘Bruce Almighty’.

In contrast, Washington’s career began in an era without the restrictions of the Hays Code. His powerful performances in films such as ‘Glory’ and ‘Training Day’ catapulted him to stardom, cementing his reputation as one of Hollywood’s most respected actors known for his versatility and range.

Morgan Freeman acknowledges the progress of black actors

LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 21: Morgan Freeman a "Angel Has Fallen" Premiering at the Village Theater on August 21, 2019 in Westwood, CA

While Freeman admitted to being a little jealous of Washington’s success, he also acknowledged the significant progress made by black actors in Hollywood.

Recalling his childhood, Freeman shared, “When I was growing up, there was no ‘me’ in movies. If there was a black man in a movie, it was funny. Until Sidney Poitier came along and gave young people like me the idea, “Okay, yeah, I can do it.”

Recalling a past conversation with the late Poitier, Freeman shared, “And I talked to Sidney back in the day. He said, “I wanted to be like you.” The actor continued, “But generation by generation, we’re making leaps and bounds…LGBTQ, Asian, black, white, interracial marriage, interracial relationships. All represented. Now you can see them all on the screen, and that’s a huge leap.”

Morgan Freeman calls Denzel Washington an “extraordinary actor.”


Freeman was a constant support to his co-star in the 1989 film “Glory.” In 2019, at the AFI’s 47th Lifetime Achievement Awards ceremony honoring Washington, Freeman was in attendance and praised Washington’s remarkable talent.

In an interview Access Hollywood pon the red carpet, per Insider, Freeman expressed his admiration for Washington’s ability to deeply connect with viewers through his performances, stating, “It connects with you.” Freeman praises Washington as an extraordinary actor, noting his unique ability to captivate audiences with his screen presence.

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