Interview: Morgan Taylor Campbell on Power Rangers & Wanderlust! – Exclusive
Morgan Taylor Campbell has come a long way since we interviewed her in 2013! You may recognize the Canadian actress from The CW’s The 100 or Freeform’s Dead of Summer – and in 2017, she’s stepping up her game. We spoke with Morgan about her upcoming films, her mentor, her jet-setting aspirations, and more!
Read on for our full interview with Morgan Taylor Campbell.
Can you tell us a bit about your roles in the films Sadie’s Last Days on Earth and Power Rangers? What else is coming up for you in 2017?
Morgan Taylor Campbell: It’s exciting these two characters have found themselves in the same question! On the one hand, you’ve got Sadie, this headstrong little firecracker with a big sensitive heart who shies away from the “tepid” waters of her 16-year-old existence and any spontaneity she may find within it. Then on the other, you’ve got Harper, a queen bee on the pyramid of high school hierarchy, who keeps her big sensitive heart trapped under many locks and keys and [handles] her qualms with teenage life by trying to rule it. These two ladies sit on very opposing ends of a spectrum of high school stereotypes, yet inside, both have insecurities that resonate on a much more encompassing human level. It was fun for me to put different hats on those similar fears and explore who they developed into. As for the rest of 2017, I have travel plans! I’ve never crossed the ocean, so this is my year. I’m exploring New York as we speak, and come summer I’ll be headed due west.
Your character in Sadie’s Last Days on Earth isn’t afraid to go against the crowd by having unpopular beliefs, and she’s also pretty ambitious! Do you share either of those traits with Sadie? Do you think you’d get along with her if you met her in real life?
I commend that girl! I definitely wasn’t rocking a vest like hers in high school, however we split the cake when it comes to ambition. But, most certainly, I did take the long way around before I began to trust myself enough to develop a voice that could be marked by my own signature. Where I’m at now, I’d love to be a big sister to Sadie. I would get on very well with her spunky quirks, and our senses of humor and lust for M&Ms would fall hand in hand. I’d also love to help her navigate her way through some of that unrelenting anxiety, which I myself have known all too well.
What inspired you to get into acting and entertainment? Was there anyone who influenced you or anyone you would love to work with someday?
I have trouble pinpointing any particular person. I think, big-picture, what really did it was [that] I had this sense of displacement inside me early on. In spite of all the hobbies I surrounded myself with growing up, I felt most myself perched on the couch next to stacks of VHS tapes. Looking back to the root of it, I was curious about stories because I was curious about myself. As a kid, my answer to the latter question would have been along the lines of Johnny Depp, Robin Williams and Jim Carrey, along with many animated characters. Now, I look in all the shiny places and dusty corners to fulfill that ever-growing curiosity, which means I don’t narrow down my field of vision by choosing select people. I continue to be empowered working with the many artists who spontaneously cross my path.
You credit Kate Twa at Railtown Actors Studio in Vancouver for helping you hone and develop your acting skills. Did she offer any specific guidance that resonated with you, or did you have more of cumulative learning experience? What tips would you give to aspiring young actors?
Gosh, I have so much respect for that woman. It was very cumulative on my part and ever so patient on hers. I spent years in her studio and much of my gratitude comes not only from the safe place I had to explore my work but from the unrelenting support I had to honor my own ambitions and follow a path that taught me about myself along the way. Something growing in me, which I hope can be of service to young artists out there, is the trust that we all hold a space in this world and our unique voices matter. I find so much beauty in an artist’s ability to bring light to the misunderstood, to ignite questions inside ourselves, and for the power art possesses to unify people coming from vastly different stretches of life. I continue to practice opening myself to new experiences, forgoing the plans, and seeing where the wind takes me. But, hey, some days, it’s hard!
Speaking of Kate Twa, you had a starring role in the 2016 film The Orchard, which she wrote and directed. What was it like to work with her in that capacity, given that you were once her student and now you’re a professional actor?
I was gobsmacked and intimidated all at the same time. I had put Kate on such a pedestal in my mind for so long. However, I have never felt more at home at work as I did when I was on set with her. The trust that had been built over so many years laid the foundation for a really cohesive artistic atmosphere. I only ever knew Kate in a teacher/student setting beforehand, and it was gorgeous to see her in her element directing a film set. It was a gift doing that film, and Kate’s vision is one I cherish.
Many actors move to Los Angeles when their careers start to take off, but you’ve been able to divide your time between Vancouver and LA. How do you make that work? Why is it so important to you to keep one foot in Vancouver?
I’m lucky I have plenty of people to miss, however I’ve never been too great at it. My family is mainly in Canada, yet my solace seems to be with the waves in California. And currently New York is showing me its best sides, so my heart often pulls me between the places. Fortunately, opportunities for work seem to follow, and I never mind the airplanes taking me from one adventure to another.
Thanks to Morgan Taylor Campbell for the chat! Watch out for her in Power Rangers, premiering March 24, and in the feature film Sadie’s Last Days on Earth. To keep up with Morgan, you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram!