Thursday,19 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1268, (29 October - 4 November 2015)
Thursday,19 October, 2017
Issue 1268, (29 October - 4 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly

The Freeman Story

Between welcoming Morgan Freeman and questioning the reason he is here, Soha Hesham sums up recent social media debates

The Freeman Story
The Freeman Story
Al-Ahram Weekly

Last Sunday, the Hollywood icon Morgan Freeman, 78, landed in Egypt for a five-day visit to film a documentary series for the National Geographic programme The Story of God, for which he is the narrator as well as the executive producer.

He visited the Giza Pyramids and Luxor as well as Islamic Cairo, accompanied by Egyptologists and archaeologists and aided by, among others, Ahmad Ragab’s books. The documentary,  to be released next year in 171 countries and 45 languages, after filming in Turkey, Jerusalem and India, delves into humanity’s attempt to understand the divine through the ages and across civilisations.

The Academy Award winner is celebrated for such films as The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Deep Impact (1998), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Seven (1995), Invictus (2009), The Sum of All Fears (2002), Lucy (2014). With his deep, smooth voice, he is also the narrator of the Discovery Channel television show Through the Wormhole, which has focused on physics outreach since 2010.

Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou met Freeman at the Giza Pyramids during filming, when they both launched the hashtag #This_is_Egypt in an attempt to promote the country for tourism. Freeman has since been spotted in Al-Hussein at Al-Fishawi Cafe, and on the Qasr Al-Nil Bridge taking pictures...

Yet for some Egyptians the American star has been a controversial figure since his role in Tom Shadyac’s 2003 Bruce Almighty with Jim Carrey – and religiously motivated objections to his working on a documentary dealing with religion in Egypt have been voiced on social media. Demands that the Censorship Authority should intervene ring hollow since this is not an Egyptian production – and according to the State Information Service, Freeman and his crew have all the necessary permits.

Freeman told Variety magazine, “The Story of God is one of the greatest mysteries and most important ideas in the world. For me, this is a personal and enduring quest to understand the divine, and I am humbled by the opportunity to take viewers along on this incredible journey.”

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