He has has taught us about reading, educated us about penguins, portrayed the president of the United States, a chauffeur, a convict, and the Lord himself. But whether he’s come to us as “Easy Reader” on “The Electric Company,” driven Miss Daisy, or literally played God in “Bruce Almighty” and “Evan Almighty,” Morgan Freeman has captivated.
The actor himself is captivated by the cosmos, so he eagerly signed up to host and executive produce a third season of “Through the Wormhole.” The series, airing on the Science Channel on Wednesdays at 10 p.m., will employ everything from string theory to quantum mechanics to tackle big questions like “Is the universe alive?”; “Will we survive first contact?”; “Can we eliminate evil?”
Freeman took on substantially easier queries from reporters earlier this year at the semi-annual Television Critic’s Association press tour in Pasadena.
Q. When did your interest in science begin? Was it a teacher?
A. There is science and science I just never did get, biology, chemistry. But I had a class in physics, and I blossomed there in high school. The science of physics is so much different than any other science that I’ve been exposed to. And I just found it very, very fascinating. The questions that you can ask in physics and most of what’s going on in physics is around trying to answer questions. We don’t really have a lot of answers. We have more questions in physics than we do answers.
Q. When did you first find out about wormholes?
A. I used to read a lot, and I remember reading a book called “Downbelow Station” that dealt a lot with space travel . . . that you could reach a certain speed and be anywhere in the universe you wanted to be. That’s wormhole travel.
Q. Are you at all concerned that science is somehow being lost in the schools today? Do programs like this inculcate more of an interest in science for young kids today?
A. Absolutely. [The] first part of your question was am I concerned about the loss of science teaching in our schools. Yes, I go along with the President. We really do need to inculcate more science and technology interest among our young people. Otherwise, we’re going to fall way behind in the global science community. Very concerned. One of the perks that we have, I suppose, on “Through the Wormhole,” is that we have a rather large youth audience. It makes us very proud.
Q. When did you realize that your voice was an especially strong asset?
A. I don’t know. What happened voice-wise was I got to do the narration on “The Shawshank Redemption,” and I’d never thought of my voice as being anything special, but after that I got a lot of offers, and I think it just sort of followed from that, where people said, “Oh, the voice, the voice, the voice.” But I don’t know. It’s like anything else. If you keep saying it’s special, then I guess it becomes special, thereby.
Q. Are you hopeful that any other beings we encounter would be kind, or are you skeptical?
A. Well, of course. Very hopeful.