After ‘Story of God’ Success, Morgan Freeman Seeks to Tell ‘The Story of Us’

The Story of Us - Morgan Freeman
Maria Bohe/National Geographic
Bosques de San Nicolas, Guatemala - Morgan Freeman.

In this follow-up to his documentary The Story of God—Nat Geo’s highest-rated series ever—Morgan Freeman travels to Afghanistan, Guatemala, Ethiopia and more for a closer look at us mere mortals. The Oscar-winning actor shares some highlights from the six one-hour episodes exploring how societies deal with power, belief, love, conflict, rebellion and freedom.

Why make The Story of Us now?
Global events seem to be driving us apart. It’s important to remind us of our interconnectedness.

Love makes the world go around. Whose love story surprised you most?
Hina Belitz grew up in the U.K. in a Pakistani family. She married for love but was divorced and disappointed. Her grandmother found her a second spouse. Hina first resisted an arranged marriage, but there was a spark. Fifteen years later, they’re still happy. Hina’s lesson: The West may be too focused on romantic love.

Who did you find had one of the longest roads to freedom?
In New York City, within sight of the Statue of Liberty, I met Shin Dong-hyuk, born a slave in a North Korean labor camp because his parents were political prisoners. After escaping to America, he’s now married, expecting a child and choosing his own destiny.

Are there any interviews that truly blew your mind?
The Rwanda segment with Mariya, a Tutsi tribe member whose husband and oldest children were murdered in the genocide there, and Filbert, a Hutu, who had been involved with the group that killed them. He asked for her forgiveness. Over two years, they found peace and [now] live as neighbors in a specially created reconciliation village.

What do you hope viewers take away from this doc?
Whether living in wooden huts or steel-and-glass skyscrapers, we share values, hopes and passions. Recognizing one another’s humanity will leave the world better than we found it.

The Story of Us With Morgan Freeman, Series Premiere, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 9/8c, National Geographic Channel