Morgan Griffin, 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship Finalist
With eleven feature film credits already to her name, it’s little wonder Morgan Griffin has been steadily dividing her time between Australia and the U.S. since the age of seventeen. Born and raised in Sydney, Morgan most recently wrapped production on the thriller Bad Blood (2017) alongside Xavier Samuel and has also appeared in Spin Out (2016), San Andreas (2015), Unbroken (2014), Nim’s Island (2007) and Charlie & Boots (2009). She is perhaps best known to younger audiences for her starring role as Charlotte “Charlie” Anderson in the Nickelodeon series The Sleepover Club, as well as playing a young Delta Goodrem in the music video for Innocent Eyes.
AiF: Where do you call home right now?
MG: Sydney is home for me right now – I was living in London for eighteen months or so before I landed the part in Spin Out and was just spending my time traveling and auditioning. It was great fun but also very exciting to fly home to Sydney for my first feature film lead role.
AiF: When did the acting bug first bite you and you knew it was your calling?
MG: From memory I think it happened quite young for me and my Dad says I was about five years old when I informed him I wanted to act! I can’t remember who or what it was that first inspired me, probably The Sound of Music, but once I knew that was it.
AiF: What inspires you in life?
MG: Anything that really moves me, and that can range from theatre or film to a beautiful piece of writing or any piece of art. I love anything that explores the human condition and makes me feel more alive, especially when I’m performing.
AiF: Who are your favorite actors and/or filmmakers and why do they resonate with you?
MG: I have so many but at the moment Marion Cotillard is so inspiring for me, especially her performances in the films Two Days, One Night (2014) and Rust and Bone (2012). She’s such an incredible actress and so honest. I love how she utterly exposes herself onscreen and the films she chooses for me are an ideal balance between big commercial films and smaller projects that really mean something.
AiF: What work are you most proud of creating so far in your career?
MG: When I first started working in bigger roles I had just turned sixteen and landed the part in Charlie and Boots (2009) alongside Paul Hogan and Shane Jacobson. My character had to sing and play guitar in the film and I’d only just started playing guitar in real life so I was nervous about pulling it all off. But I proved to myself that I could and it was such a great experience and sense of achievement for me.
AiF: How are you hoping your career will unfold in the years to come?
MG: Like everyone else I just want to be working! And if I could continue doing so here in Australia for my entire career that would be amazing, but there are so many filmmakers and opportunities in the U.S. that I’d love to work with and experience. It would be wonderful to have a really fulfilling career in the States, make great films and hopefully be one of the best of my generation.
AiF: When did you first hear about the Heath Ledger Scholarship and make the decision to enter?
MG: I actually entered the Scholarship a few years ago when I’d just finished Charlie and Boots but didn’t know I could re-apply again until only recently! So it was literally a month before the applications closed for 2017 that I thought, maybe I should do it? I am a massive fan of Heath’s and to be a finalist is such an honor.
AiF: What does California represent for you in terms of your dreams, aspirations and goals in life?
MG: There’s just so much opportunity coming out of California and it represents real possibility for career success for me. So many of the very best in the industry started out there and I guess it’s kind of unavoidable in a way and also very exciting. I love that there’s such a great film industry network over there and even though it can be quite daunting, there is so much work going on and you can feel there is this energy and positivity that “I can do this”. Everyone is so understanding and accepting of this and that’s really affirming for me.
AiF: What are your favorite parts of California and what makes them so appealing?
MG: Most of the time I’ve spent in California has been in L.A. but I’ve also spent some time in San Francisco and absolutely loved it there, it’s such a cool city. I’ve also spent some time in Mount Washington just on the other side of Silverlake and loved being there – it’s so great you can find pockets in L.A. that are really special and make it feel so much more comfortable.
AiF: What would it mean to you if you won the Heath Ledger Scholarship for 2017?
MG: It would mean everything and I would be so grateful, honored and proud to fly the flag for the Scholarship and emerging Australian actors for 2017. And it would just fuel me even more to be the best and be focused and driven, and to have the resources and support to make it happen would be incredible. There is nothing more that I want than to have a successful career.
Heath Ledger Scholarship 2017 presenting partners are Qantas, Visit California, Screenwise and Ausfilm.
AiF would also like to thank Penfolds and Kate Raynor & Associates, official Immigration law partner.