‘The Story of Us’ at Paley Center: Morgan Freeman on the courage & passion that unites people around the world

Following a successful Emmy nominated run hosting National Geographic‘s “The Story of God,” which explored how different world religions view life, death, and creation, Morgan Freeman is back on NatGeo with “The Story of Us,” which examines the fundamental drives that unite human beings across cultures around the world. The new six-part series premieres on October 11, but he previewed the first episode, “The March of Freedom,” on Thursday, September 28, at the Paley Center in New York City.

“Freedom” profiles Albert Woodfox, a New Orleans man who endured 44 years of solitary confinement before his release from prison; Shin Dong-Hyuk, who escaped the cruelty of a North Korean labor camp; Nadya Tolokonnikova, a member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot who seeks to fight the oppression of Vladimir Putin‘s regine; Rigoberta Menchu Tum, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for advocating for the persecuted native people of Guatemala; and Victoria Khan, a transgender woman who struggled to escape violence in Afghanistan and then to live her true gender identity.

“The most emotional interview was Victoria,” said Freeman about the person who moved him the most during the series. “That childhood story stops you — that she survived what she survived as a child, who she was as a child, the courage that she exhibited as a child growing up in the most, from our standpoint, horrific conditions.” The passions of Victoria and dozens more individuals profiled in “The Story of Us” drew Freeman in. “You become part of their passion,” he explained. “It’s exciting to meet the people who are all off the beaten path. They’ve all taken another road — the road less traveled.” They have the “courage” to pursue lives beyond the boundaries that have been set for them.

In addition to freedom, “The Story of Us” explores universal human experiences of peace, love, rebellion, unity, and division. It spans the globe from Romania, to Rwanda, to London, and back to the US for an interview with former president Bill Clinton, among many others. Will you be watching “The Story of Us” starting October 11? Discuss this and more with your fellow TV fans in our forums.

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