DEEP IMPACT

Morgan Freeman Gently Slapped My Face

The legendary actor and Madam Secretary producer insists his show has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton.

Stuart Wilson/Getty

On Thursday, Oscar winner Morgan Freeman came to Washington, DC, for a red-carpet screening of Madam Secretary, the new CBS dramatic series he’s producing about a Secretary of State played by Téa Leoni. The premiere was held at the US Institute of Peace, which hosted series regulars such as Leoni and Bebe Neuwirth, and political big shots like Madeleine Albright.

Because the show follows a white, blonde, female Secretary of State, many have drawn the inevitable comparison to (who else?) Hillary Clinton. In fact, executive producers Freeman and Lori McCreary came up with the idea for the series because of Clinton and the Benghazi hearings, and the second episode is titled “Another Benghazi.”

Still, the Madam Secretary cast and crew have been lately downplaying parallels to the Democratic presidential hopeful. Leoni herself (jokingly?) claims she was emulating Henry Kissinger.

“It’s not some liberal Hollywood conspiracy to elect Hillary,” series star Tim Daly said at the event Thursday.

Still, Morgan Freeman, for instance, is a bit of a raging liberal. He gave $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC in 2012, can’t stand the Republican Party, and has accused tea partiers of racism.

But he hasn’t been vocal about supporting a likely 2016 Clinton run, as some of his fellow Hollywood liberals have been. So I thought I’d ask Freeman on the red carpet if he was, actually, “ready for Hillary.”

“No,” the clearly annoyed 77-year-old star of The Shawshank Redemption and The Lego Movie told The Daily Beast.

Freeman—who was wearing his dark sunglasses at the indoor evening event—was obviously in no mood to discuss his politics, and crankily wanted to stay on message regarding his new show.

“This show has nothing to do with Hillary,” he said emphatically. “Or Madeleine. Or Condoleezza. Or anybody else we know. It’s fiction. We made it all up. And we will continue to make it up. Okay?”

A smiling Freeman then playfully and gently slapped my face due to his mild-to-moderate displeasure over my #Hillary2016 question. After that, he took a question from CNN’s Elizabeth Landers, who also noted the actor’s “serious sass” that night. She asked him why he thought women are having this “moment” in political television nowadays, with starring roles in Veep, Scandal, Madam Secretary, and so forth.

“[Because] they deserve it,” Freeman crisply responded.

“Anything else?” Landers followed up, in an exercise in futility.

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“No, they deserve it,” he said before nodding and walking off.

So there you go. Check out the Madam Secretary trailer below. The series premieres on Sunday.