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Morgan York, Actress: Profile Interview Series Vol. #11

Morgan York, Actress
by Jason Whyte

Morgan York is a talented young newcomer who is making an impression with critics and audiences alike. The oldest of three children, Morgan Elizabeth York first appeared in a commercial at 18 months old, but did not begin to fully get into the business until the age of nine.


With only ďCheaper by The DozenĒ and ďThe PacifierĒ plus numerous television appearances under her belt, Morganís current resume may not be as long as somebody like Dakota Fanning but hey, sheís only 12 and in the biz for a few years, and the purpose of this slowly-building profile interview series is to showcase up and coming talent. Morgan York easily fits the bill as a hard-working and talented young performer who has a bright future ahead of her.

I had the opportunity to talk with Morgan from her home in Sherman Oaks, California a few weeks ago; she is now in Toronto to film a sequel to Cheaper By The Dozen reprising her role as Kim Baker.

Jason Whyte: Do you have a favourite movie of all time?
Morgan York: Well, I am obsessed with the Harry Potter books and moviesÖmy favourite is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the latest one that came out.

JW: How did you feel that that one compared to the other ones?
MY: Itís my favourite book in the series. I like the story and I think the acting and a lot of the visuals looked better. I liked the other ones too, but that one was the best.

JW: How badly do you want to be in a Harry Potter movie?
MY: OH YEAH. (laughs)

JW: Have you seen any good films lately?
MY: Not many lately. I did like The Incredibles last year. [And] for some reason I really like adaptations from books into movies, so I really liked the Lemony Snicket movie.

JW: How about TV? Is there anything that you are watching right now?
MY: I kind of like to watch The Disney Channel a lot when Iím bored. We have two Disney channels so if thereís something I just donít really like, or a rerun on, Iíll just flip it over. (laughs)

JW: How about music?
MY: I donít really have a certain ďtypeĒ of music that I like, although some of my favourite songs are by Hilary Duff and Aly & AJ.

JW: I understand that youíre into writingÖhave you been following any good books lately?
MY: Well right now Iím reading the series The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and thatís a really, really good book. And Iíve also made this Harry Potter website where I posted about my fav

ourite character Hermione, and Iíve written a bunch of stories from her point of view. Itís not anything public, just something that I did on my free time.

JW: In your own words, how did you get your start in this business?
MY: Well, I did one commercial when I was a baby but that was kind of a fluke. The real way it began was working with an agent when I was nine. I had been asking my parents if I could act for a long time because my sister Wendy and I would always act out movies while we watched them. And so, I wanted to be an actor and when I was nine years old, they finally said yes. We had connections to this really important casting director, and we asked her if I could audition for an agency, and she set that up for me. I auditioned and they said that I was good so they letÖ(beat, clears throat) they ďlet me in.Ē

JW: (laughs) What was the first job that you remember doing?
MY: Well Iíve seen the ear thermometer commercial I did when I was a baby on tape (laughs). Easy. The first job I remember was a short film called ďThe VestĒ where I was an extra; you could hardly see me butÖ(laughs) Iím doing it.

JW: How would you say you personally prepare for each role?
MY: I like to explore the basis of each character and how they would act. When I played Lulu in The Pacifier, her dad just died but she tries to keep the whole family together by being cheerful. So, sheís kind of cheerful but she still has tragedy in her life.

In acting, I really like improvisation. Itís really fun, because whenever you think that maybe a line could be put HERE in a movie, add it on while doing the scene and see if the director likes it or not.

JW: Whatís your favourite improvisation game?
MY: I like ďEvil TwinĒ, have you ever heard of that one?

JW: Remind me. (laughs)
MY: Itís really funÖitís a game where thereís four people, and the first two people -- there can be a boy or a girl Ė usually have to improv a birthday or a honeymoon or whatever. The first boy and girl are going on a date, and the other two play their evil twins. They go on their date, and at one point we yell ďFreeze!Ē and, for example, one of the girls switches with the other girl and becomes their evil twin and do evil things to the other guy. Same thing happens with the guys as well, a role reversal. It all turns out to be a disaster. (laughs)

JW: Have you seen ďWhose Line Is It Anyway?Ē
MY: Iíve seen it once. That looks really fun to do.

JW: How did you react when you started getting feedback from critics or fans from your work? When ďThe PacifierĒ came out, many thought that your work was the best thing in the movie.
MY: When I started reading reviews of that on the internet, I was really excited and thought that it was really cool that people liked what I did. Some critics probably didnít think I was good, but I was really glad at the whole outcome and how everybody liked it. I didnít expect it to do very well either; people probably thought ďOh, my gosh! Vin Dieselís doing comedy! Thatís going to be so badĒ but at least a lot of people got to see it.

JW: I hear that you are just about to leave to do a sequel to Cheaper By The Dozen.
MY: Yep!

JW: What can you tell me about it?
MY: Itís kind of weird to return to Kim, because when I filmed the first one I was 10 playing 8, and now Iím 12 playing 9. But luckily, my character acts older than my age so thatís easierÖbecause sheís really smart. But anyway; I havenít read all of the script yet, but our family all goes on vacation to a cabin by a lake and they have a rivalry with another family. This family has about 8 or 10 kids, and their parents get into a rivalry with our parents. The kids like each other, however. Sarah Bakerís character, the sporty tomboyish troublemaker, gets a love interest, so thatís a big surpriseÖ(beat) oh well, not for you now because I told youÖ(laughs)

JW: (laughs) Oh no, well Iím spoiled! Thatís okay.
MY: And the opposite dad is played by Eugene Levy who I like, and the oldest daughter is now married to some other guy and pregnant.

JW: A lot of info. And another spoiler!
MY: Well I donít know what else is going to happen, but at least I didnít tell you the climax! (giggle)

JW: Now youíre doing this movie with Adam Shankman, who you worked with on The Pacifier
MY: Yeah! That was kind of a surprise. I was at the premiere of The Pacifier and Adam came up to me at one point and said, ďGuess what my next movie is?Ē and I asked him what it was, and he told me he was going to do the sequel and I was really surprised. Shawn Levy, who did the first one, is really busy right now with The Pink Panther remake. I did visit the set of Pink Panther in New York and that was cool. I saw Steve Martin do a really funny scene and I got to see him and Shawn again.

JW: How difficult was it for you to act with a large group of people like in Cheaper By The Dozen where some scenes had all of you in one small room. That must have been a difficult task.
MY: It wasnít that bad, they made it easier because my co-actors were my friends and we could talk to each other in-between takes. There was a scene or two that was a bit chaotic but really not as bad to film as it seems.

JW: I guess Iím just looking at it from a directorís perspective, that he has this one shot with a dozen kids in it and how he has to get each one to--
MY: I donít know WHATíS going to happen when we have twenty kids from both families. The thing is, Iím more worried about how FULL the school trailer is going to be. (Laughs) I donít think most of us will have to do as much school because weíre filming in the summer.

JW: What is it like for you to do on-set schooling? Which do you like better?
MY: Itís kind of easier AND harder in a way, because the teacher has all of the attention focused on you and you canít pretend to listen but not really listen, because she has all of her attention right at you. Normally, the teacher is talking to the entire class and they might not be looking at you at the momentÖbut here, the teacher is teaching your work, theyíre talking directly to YOU. You have to be really patient the entire time so they donít snap your fingers and go ďHello, hello? Iím talking here!Ē (laughs)

JW: (laughs) It must be really difficult to balance your acting along with your school and other activities.
MY: Itís a little hard, because itís my first year of middle school right now and itís like, really tough. Thereís this one teacher that piles on project after project and (sighs) itís kind of overwhelming.

JW: What do you do to relax, or to have fun?
MY: Sometimes I draw or I paint when I have time. Or, right before I called you for the interview, I was playing a computer game called The Sims 2. Lately, our pool at our house has been really warm, so weíve been swimming as well. And I also like to read, write and play basketball. Iím also kind of interested in playing guitar as well. My friend plays an acoustic and I would like to try it out. It seems interesting.

JW: Where do you see yourself in the future? Do you wish to continue acting or do you have any other interests?
MY: Iím sure that I might be acting in a few years, but I am also thinking about becoming a writer. I was thinking about doing what Steve Martin does; do some movies as well as some novels. For me, writing books is a bit more enjoyable; I have done some screenwriting but have never finished one; I once rewrote the entire first Harry Potter movie. I find books are a bit more interesting.

JW: Are you recognized in public or at school?
MY: At school, Iím recognized a lot. Either they recognize me from The Pacifier or some of them spread rumours saying ďThatís the girl from a movie! Oh thereís been a girl from our school in a movie,Ē and it gets around to everybody and they recognize me. And then theyíll usually come up to me and ask. And sometimes even for an autograph.

JW: AT school? They ask you for autographs there?
MY: Yeah. It happens a lot at school because they are my age, of course, and theyíll have seen my movies. As for public, we were in a restaurant and these kids were pointing and whispering at me. Their mom eventually came over and asked me if I was in Cheaper By The Dozen.

JW: Is there any place in the world that you would love to travel to, perhaps even make a movie there?
MY: Yeah. I used to live in New York City, and I canít live there right now because my parents are divorced and one canít move there becauseÖ.okay, itís kind of complicated because sometimes weíre at my momís house and sometimes weíre at our dadís house and it would be really complicated if one parent moved to New York because you wouldnít get to be with one parent for a long time.

But anyway. Yeah, I would really love to film in New York to get back there for a while and not have to move there and complicate my life more. Itís really fun to shoot a movie there because I would get to spend some spare time there and hang out with all of my friends from 1st grade and things like that.

JW: Are there any actors or filmmakers that you havenít worked with yet and would like to?
MY: Yeah, I would love to work with Aly & AJ; they do music but also acting as well. And since I was four Iíve wanted to meet Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. They are the first people Iíve ever wanted to meet and theyíre almost the only ones Iíve never met. (laughs) Other than that, maybe Reese Witherspoon, oh and Emma Watson, because she plays Hermione in Harry Potter, of course.

JW: Have you ever auditioned for any role in a Harry Potter movie? Sounds like you should.
MY: I havenít since I wasnít a fan until the first movie came out, but I remember thinking ďMAN! I wish I liked it before so I could audition for Hermione, because Emma was about 11 when she did it and, unfortunately, I was 8, so that wouldnít have worked out. (laughs)

JW: Are there any other types of movies that you would like to do in the future?
MY: Yeah! I would LOVE to do voice work for an animated movie; Iíve never done that before. I think it would be really fun because when I was little I liked cartoons better than live action filmsÖand I like live action better now, but I would love to do a voice for an animated film or show.

JW: What is the best comment that anybody has said about your work?
MY: I have some really good advice from Bonnie Hunt who played my mom in Cheaper By The Dozen while working on that movieÖĒItís really good that youíre good at acting and youíre funny, but you have to always remember to be kind no matter how famous you get.Ē

JW: Now a question about your official website, morganyork.com, which is basically your portal to the online world, and the site administrator Callie Iím friends with--
MY: Yeah, so am I. (laughs)

JW: Do you have any future plans for involvement with the site? Itís good now, but would you want to add any of your own personal stuff in the future?
MY: Maybe Callie could put a link to the other site that has my short stories on it. (Note: At the time of publish, Callie has published a mirror link to her site to protect Morganís email address.)

JW: Do you have any tips for up and coming actors who are trying to get into the business?
MY: If theyíre upset because they havenít gotten any roles yet, they have to be patient and they have to keep working at it and maybe theyíll get a call-back and hopefully the part. If they do get a part, they have to remember what Bonnie Hunt once told me to always be kind and take advice from the kind actors, and not from the ones that are always late and never nice to people on set, and acting like they own the world and stuff.

JW: The big final question; out of everything that you have done, what do you love the most about acting?
MY: Itís a lot of fun pretending to be someone else, and I have a lot of fun doing it. Thereís never really a moment when Iím acting that Iím not happy, like maybe if Iím feeling sad or something, if I get on the set I get happier, you know? The best thing is all the fun you have on set and the friends you make from it.

-- Special thanks to Mark York and Callie Rose Tresser of morganyork.com for arranging this interview. This is an entry into a series where an actor, be it little known, overlooked or up-and-coming is profiled for our website. Comments about the series and this article are encouraged and can be sent to Jason HERE. (Click to send an email.)


link directly to this feature at https://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1532
originally posted: 06/26/05 17:06:13
last updated: 08/31/05 03:21:23
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