MORGAN SAYLOR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW/FASHION STORY

August 01, 2014 6:56 PM

Exclusive Interview/Fashion Story "MORGAN SAYLOR" is now updated!

Check inside for the Full Page Editorial

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MORGAN SAYLOR

“A Rising Raconteur”  

Avid storyteller, Morgan Saylor, is a promising young actress taking on the daunting New York stage this summer in Sarah Treem’s When We Were Younger and Unafraid. Known for her role as Dana Brody on Showtime’s series Homeland, Saylor showed great emotional range through the course of this politically charged play. Her character, Penny, is a teenager in the 1970s who helps her mother, Agnes (Cherry Jones), run a bed-and-breakfast on an isolated island that doubles as a shelter for battered women.  Penny is hyper-intelligent, logical, and Yale bound in the beginning but after the arrival of Mary Anne (Zoe Kazan), an abused young woman who knows all too well about the wiles of men, Penny transforms into a girl with only one thing on her mind – the boy she likes.  Saylor is able to make her character’s complete turnaround seem effortless and natural; she held her own against Broadway heavyweights and captivated the audience.

 

After seeing When We Were Young and Unafraid, I was able to chat with Morgan Saylor over the phone about her burgeoning career and role in the play.

 

 

Susan Schell: When did you know that you were first interested in acting?

Morgan Saylor: Always! I mean since I was a little kid, I really loved watching movies and reading books. I like story telling. I grew up in the country, in Georgia, and my introduction to acting was summer camp and by watching things like the Wizard of Oz over and over again. I slowly began to realize that people actually do this for a living and that you can be an actor, you can tell stories. It is such a crazy, cool job.

 

SS: Do you prefer theater or film/television? And why?

MS: One of my favorite things is making movies just because that’s what I love to see. I love watching movies, in the [movie] theater or even just owning a movie so I can watch it a hundred times over. I mean they are all so different – film, TV, and theater. It is definitely really nice to have a variety, but I think my favorite is making movies.

 

SS: Do you have a dream role or character?

MS: I don’t think I have one. Each script and character is so different that I fall in love with each one differently.

 

SS: As a young actress, what was it like juggling an acting career while being in school?

MS: I was pretty lucky actually. We moved to Atlanta when I was ten years old and that is when I got an agent. So that’s when I began having auditions and working a lot more. Recently, within the past two years there has been a huge movement to the south, for shooting a lot of things because of the tax incentives that these states provide. So most of my work as a teenager was in the south. I worked a lot in Louisiana. Homeland shot in Charlotte, North Carolina - which is only a four-hour drive from where I lived. So I was lucky and able to do both, I went to a public high school and had all the same friends. It was hard to juggle everything and to have to miss things because of being out of town. I feel really lucky that it did work out though with that schedule, it was sort of magical looking back.

 

SS: What was appealing to you about When We Were Young and Unafraid? And the role of Penny?

MS: I moved to New York about a year ago from Atlanta so I of course knew that while living in New York, theater would be an option. But I didn’t know much about it and I haven’t seen that many shows. I do like to read plays, I like to go to used bookstores and buy a bunch of plays. I did many of them in high school. When We Were Young and Unafraid was the first script that I got sent with the idea of auditioning for it. I read the script and fell in love with it, I mean it is such a powerful story and such a cool thing to be a part of. I love Penny! She is a really fun character. As a person she doesn’t feel that much like me, although I can relate to a lot of the things she goes through. So yeah, I went through the audition process and as I heard more about it, I meet with Pam [MacKinnon] the director and Sarah [Treem] the writer, I grew even fonder of the project, and worked hard to get it. I was so psyched when I finally officially signed on.

 

SS: Penny evolves a lot throughout the play, in what ways do you relate to your character?

MS: I think she is definitely the character that I’ve played that goes through that arc so quickly. She does kind of make a complete 180, which is fun. I feel like in high school, I was different. I wasn’t as isolated as Penny is by her own intelligence. But I do know what it is like to want other things and to want to expand who you are. She is really fun; she is so brainy and goofy. She is great! It is even fun to do the 180 with the costume changes throughout the play.

 

SS: Do you have a pre-performance ritual before each show?

MS: I live in Brooklyn so I have about an hour train ride to the theater each night.  No matter what I have been doing that day, I have that hour to kind of relax. When I do get to the theater I do a vocal warm up which is great because my theater skills aren’t built into my bones yet. So it is nice to get on stage and walk around. When my voice is warmed I put on my costume in the dressing room with those other lovely ladies and that starts the show.

 

SS: The show has a very small cast but the few characters in the play are very dynamic. What is it like to work so intimately with such a small and impressive cast? MS: It is wonderful! We get along so well. It is so nice to be able to know everyone so well. I love sitting around a dinner table with them and just having a conversation with them about the play or anything else. There are four ladies and one guy, we are all in the dressing room together, well the women, and we just have a blast. It is really fun!

 

SS: What was your favorite scene in the play?

MS: I would have to say the first scene, I love that I get to start the play in my pajamas. It is I kind of before the plot gets underway and it is just me [Penny] and Agnes conversing. It feels like a very import scene because you have to set the tone before the ship starts to rock. It is just some banter, its kind of easy but fun.

 

SS: Do you have any new projects coming soon?

MS: I have some movies lined up but they aren’t official yet so I’m not going to completely talk about them but I have two movies coming out later this year. Jamie Marks is Dead, a movie I shot last year, upstate, will come out in August. It is a weird, cool movie. Then on the polar opposite of that, there is another movie called McFarland coming outin November. I play Kevin Costner’s daughter, it is a nice movie, a family film. It is very different from Jamie Marks is Dead but really fun too.

 

 

WRITTEN BY: SUSAN SCHELL

 

PHOTOGRAPHY : CHAMA

 
 

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