The normally reticent Robert DeNiro could not repress himself at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall for the annual Chaplin Award Gala last night. Presenting clips of Morgan Freeman's greatist hits, and there are lots of them, DeNiro groused, "Morgan gets to play Nelson Mandela and God. In the past year I played an intern, and Bernie f--ing Madoff." That was the biggest laugh of the tribute, not counting the various attempts to brag about sex with Helen Mirren, as Morgan did in Red, a high point no doubt of any actor's career.
In a night replete with stories about Morgan Freeman, who Tim Robbins, his co-star in The Shawshank Redemption, redubbed Milton Friedman via video, Mirren talked about flying with Freeman, literally, to Palm Springs: he had the experience of driving Miss Daisy, and flying Dame Helen, she quipped emphasizing he could be dangerous to women, charming and flirtatious. Matthew Broderick, who starred with him in Glory, said that in the same year, 1989, he made Lean on Me and Driving Miss Daisy. "I haven't seen three movies in a year, let alone made them." In fact, most impressive of all is his excellence as actor, director, and "voice" in so many films: his collaboration with Clint Eastwood, who was not present and did not send a tape, and his dance moves, one of my favorite Morgan Freeman moments in Last Vegas.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.