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Morgan Freeman’s summer: Batman and beyond

Morgan Freeman attends AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Shirley MacLaine Sony Studios June 7 2012 Culver City Calif. The AFI

Morgan Freeman attends the AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Shirley MacLaine at Sony Studios on June 7, 2012 in Culver City, Calif. The AFI Lifetime Achievement Honoring Shirley MacLaine airs on June 24, 2012 at 9 p.m. on TV Land. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

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Updated: August 23, 2012 9:55AM

Morgan Freeman stars in two summer movies that are as different as knight and day.

On July 20, he resumes his role as Lucius Fox in “The Dark Knight Rises,” which marks the last film in the franchise.

It’s “is a really small summer movie,” Freeman teases in his trademark slow, rich voice. “It probably won’t get much in the way of promotion.”

But first comes Rob Reiner’s “The Magic of Belle Isle,” where he plays an author in a wheelchair who has lost his will to write. He moves to a small town where he’s taken in by a mother (Virginia Madsen) and her three children, who teach him the meaning of life. The film is available now on video demand and opens Friday at Renaissance Place in Highland Park.

Freeman, 75, got the role despite the fact that Reiner was thinking of another actor as the lead. “Then Rob remembered how much fun we had doing ‘Bucket List’ together,” Freeman says.

“Meanwhile, I really liked this character,” he says. “Being in a wheelchair also offers you a completely different acting challenge.

“Of course, you’re not called upon to do chin-ups while delivering dialogue.”

The Batman movie is set eight years after the brooding superhero took the blame for Two Face’s crimes. A new terrorist leader named Bane (Tom Hardy) is on the loose, and the Dark Knight (Christian Bale) must come out of hiding to protect the city.

Just don’t ask him if he’s sad about the end of the director Christopher Nolan’s franchise.

“I hate to tell you this, but I’m not sad that it’s over,” he says. “Honestly, I didn’t expect it to go past the third movie, which shows how much people love these character and the quality of the films.

“It’s also been extremely exciting to work with this level of talent in a film that has been such a phenomenon.”

Asked about plot secrets, Freeman just laughs. “If I gave away anything in terms of plot not only will Christopher Nolan come to my house tonight in a very upset mood, but I think all the Warner honchos will be right behind him.

“You’ll get nothing out of me. The truth is I really wouldn’t want to ruin a minute of it for the fans.”

Freeman also is hosting a summer series the Science Channel called “Through the Wormhole.” The show explores the possibilities of the universe including alien life and going back in time.

“I believe at some point we will transcend space travel,” he says. “I think we’ll figure that out for the simple reason that there is no horizon we won’t try to conquer.”

Soon he will start filming his own aging version of “The Hangover” called “Last Vegas” starring Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Christopher Walken. Four friends well into their 60s meet up in Vegas for a raucous bachelor party for Douglas’ character, who has never married.

“That’s going to be another fun one to do,” he says. “I’ll be with two actors I’ve been waiting to work with my entire life: Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas.

How crazy do guys in their 60s get in Vegas? “It’s a lot of ladies. A lot of eye candy,” he promises.

There is also a deeper message: “The film proves that no matter what age you are, just get out there and experience life.”

Big Picture News Inc.

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