Morgan Freeman: ‘Avatar’ is Really Cartoons

Newsweek’s David Ansen sat down with Oscar hopefuls Morgan Freeman (Invictus), Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Woody Harrelson (The Messenger), Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) and the conversation turned to Avatar and whether or not it’s “threatening” to them as an actor.

It’s a fascinating five minutes with Morgan Freeman and Sandra Bullock seeming to be the most negative of the group in terms of not being in favor of performance capture. For the most part the group isn’t necessarily against performance capture animation, but they obviously feel it doesn’t hold up against an actual flesh-and-blood performance.

Morgan Freeman first begins by mentioning how performance capture means an absence of costume as actors where leotards fashioned with motion capture bulbs and then saying, “I think it’s a bit faddish, because it’s really cartoons,” referring to the whole process. He adds, “If I can look in your eyes and see a completely different person, that’s what I want.”

Bullock looks at the whole trend and says, “The same people that would rush to Avatar may not be the same people that rush to see [Crazy Heart], but as long as there’s a balance and creativity keeps flowing [I think it’s a good thing].”

Jeff Bridges, who was pretty much the most balanced of the bunch, spoke for both sides, but then added, “I think what we do is the ultimate special effect.”

Bullock expanded on that and ends the video saying, “You can’t get that with dots and green screen, that’s why I don’t think dots and green screen will override [what we do as actors].”

Watch the video for yourself. Personally I think it’s interesting to hear their thoughts and wonder what they would say if the cameras weren’t rolling. I also wonder what they would say if James Cameron or Zoe Saldana were in the room.


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