December 19, 2004|A man who needs little introduction in American cinema, Morgan Freeman is taller in person than you'd expect (slimmer, too) and gracious to the point of delaying his lunch so that we could finish our conversation. In town to receive a lifetime achievement award at the 27th Starz Denver International Film Festival, Mr. Freeman granted interviews with no specific movie to hump, his long-awaited reunion with director Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby, still flying low on the radar at that point. He was there sans agenda, in other words, a rare place to find an interview subject and an invitation--a daunting one--to go over some ground that has already been trampled flat. The challenge of chatting with someone as well-known as Mr. Freeman is always going to be finding something new to discuss: even if you come up with a fresh question, after all, like anyone polished in the apple of the public eye, the super-famous and the oft-dissected have developed a skill for reverting to stock answers and widely-published responses. (As the saying goes, they answer the question they wish they were asked.) It's not affectedness, exactly--it's training. And after a while, that training becomes as helpless a reflex as blinking.