At the TCA’s: The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman

National Geographic’s “The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman” follows in the footsteps of the other collaborations between the network and Morgan Freeman. An exploration of our shared humanity, “The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman” promises more in-depth exploration of stories around the world.

Morgan Freeman (Host/Executive Producer), Megan Phelps-Roper (Former Westboro Baptist Church member), Joshua Coombes (Founder of #DoSomethingForNothing), Albert Woodfox (Former “Angola Three” Inmate), James Younger (Executive Producer), and Lori McCreary (Executive Producer) spoke to the TCA audience about their new show.

The panel included three of the people with distinct stories that Morgan interviews in the series. Albert Woodfox was one of three prison inmates put in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary in April 1972 after the killing of a corrections officer. He was kept in solitary for more than 40 years until his conviction was overturned in 2014. He was finally released in 2016. Megan Phelps-Roper was a prominent member of the Westboro Baptist Church before leaving in 2012. Since then she has become an advocate for people and ideas she was once taught to despise. And Joshua Coombes, a hairstylist from London who began a global social movement called #DoSomethingForNothing that encourages people to carry out everyday small acts of kindness; Joshua offers free haircuts to the homeless to help give them back their dignity.

Morgan Freeman discussed the basis of the show, which follows in the footsteps of his previous National Geographic show, “The Story of God.”

“Human society is a tapestry. It’s not made from the exact same fabric. So these stories, meaning these people, are in my own life, weaving a whole other pattern for me to live in and believe in. So I find it very exciting.

Producer James Younger explained one of the poignant moments in the series. “We film with Morgan and Joshua and a homeless man in London, in South London, there was a great moment in it where the man’s hair was cut, and Morgan addressed him by his name, Stewart. He asked him a question, “Hey, Stewart, what” — blah, blah. And Stewart began tearing up, and he said, “I’ve never — I haven’t had someone call me by my name for years.” And that moment of just contact, like seeing people, seeing through the outer layers is actually connecting with them.”

“That was a beautiful moment,” Coombes added, “And, actually, what’s going on there is, of course, that haircut grows out. A few months’ time, that’s gone, but those moments really stay.”

“The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman” premieres October 11 on National Geographic Channel. Check your local listings.