Exclusive Interview: Lindsay Morgan on ‘The I00’
This week on “The 100” we met a new character on board The Ark. Raven enters from the airlock wearing her spacesuit. This was only week two and “The 100” cast is already growing.
Lindsey Morgan plays Raven, and I’ve actually been a fan of Morgan’s since she appeared in my favorite movie of 2012, Detention, as a cheerleader. Over Christmas break, I got to have lunch with Morgan while she was on a break from “The 100” shooting in Vancouver, so now that you’ve met Raven, I bring you our interview.
CraveOnline: So when you got your entrance on the space station, was that like your own little Gravity scene?
Lindsay Morgan: Yes! It was! The funny thing is that we shot that before Gravity came out but the trailers were out, so I was dying for it to come out and see it.
Was that the first scene you shot, with the space suit?
Yeah, the airlock scene, that was. That was tough just because that suit, just on a technical level, it’s very crinkly. So we had audio going, and then we had the two guys, the tech helpers talking to me. The suit is bulky and very unsexy. It’s so hard to make it look smooth as you get out of it.
I noticed they got you out of it as soon as possible.
Oh, I think we practiced that at least 10 different times, 10 different days. On the fitting we practiced, at the test with photos we practiced, on set we practiced, in between takes we practiced. We were a well oiled machine, assembly line, with it. Still we’d get caught. My foot got caught in it. I’m pretty sure I got caught one time and ate it, but it’s okay. It would ruin the take because we’re talking the whole time while we do it. It was a lot of choreography. That suit is great, but it’s a hassle.
How heavy was it?
It’s not heavy at all. It’s just bulky. It’s like wearing a garbage bag. You know how sometimes they’ll get stuck to you?
I actually do know that because I once dressed as Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook at a costume party.
That’s the best! Oh, that’s so good. Imagine that’s just your body. Imagine it on your arms and your legs and your feet and your hands. You just have to get it in and get it off. That was different.
Was playing an action badass always your dream when you got into acting?
Yes. Yeah, it was. I was always athletic when I was growing up. I wasn’t a very good athlete but I always swam and I played water polo. I had a big brother so I always wanted him to hang out with me, but he wouldn’t. So I always did sports and I always really liked it, but I just was never good at it. So I always wanted to be like Angelina Jolie and look badass and not have to be really badass. Fake it! Fake being a badass.
Is there any hardcore training for “The 100?”
No, there’s not, which I’m surprised by because we go through some tough stuff. We’ve had just gun training and what not, but I take it upon myself. I worked with a stunt guy. We have stunt coordinators but I worked with a stunt guy, Don Tai, and we did some knife lessons because I wanted to do that. I train myself too when it comes to physical activities. I think Raven is very athletic, capable and a very strong girl. If she was to get into a fight, she could kick someone’s ass. I’ve done some Muay Thai training just for fun. I thought it’d be helpful. As much as she’s in her head with the technology, she’s very much in her body with protecting herself.
What is Raven’s story? How did she get this badass?
It’s kind of open ended still. I just get tidbits and tidbits from the writers, but from what we’re piecing together, on the Ark there is a class system. That’s why they always refer to Clarke as princess, and the chancellor’s son, Wells, as the prince. It’s very much the privileged and the non privileged. If the Ark had streets or the hood, Raven was born in the hood. Her dad is gone from the beginning. Her mom is just, I’m assuming, not in a good place. She had an issue with drugs.
Her mother was friends with Nigel. Nigel is the black market woman. She deals morphine and in my head my mom was addicted to morphine, so she would basically trade her rations, because everyone on the Ark has their rations, for drugs and trade my rations for drugs. Mom definitely did not take care of me, so Raven learned to take care of herself at a very, very young age. She had to in order to survive, so she doesn’t trust a lot of people. That’s why Finn is so important to her.
They definitely allude to the black market.
Yes, yes, so Nigel’s definitely someone from my past who ran the streets or the hood, my neighborhood of the Ark.
What is the set of the Ark like?
It’s like a half prison, half cafeteria. It’s like a giant prison cafeteria everywhere. It’s really cool. Tunnels and vast spaces, very sparse. Everything’s kind of breaking down so it’s all held together barely. I mean, it’s a huge set. It’s really cool but it’s very uncomfortable. It’s very dank in every aspect.
Is it actually really close to the outdoor set?
No, no, they’re actually really far away from each other. They’re about a good 30 minutes from each other I would say. All the Ark is in studio and all the forest stuff, everything else, it’s called the GVRD, a national park.
Are there actually moving parts in the Ark you can work with?
Yeah, it’s really cool. I don’t know a thing about cars so I found a book at a used book store in Vancouver that talked about the mechanics. I tried to read it and get to know something of it, but it just talked about socket and gears, what tools that you need for what? And then our props master is so great, he always has so many things for me to play with, like we’ll go between takes. He’ll be teaching me how to put things together, so I was working with the rocket with a socket wrench. I was screwing that in, so it’s pretty cool.
Is there any tough jargon you have to memorize?
Every now and then. We’re starting to get more of that, whenever I get into building something. Then you always have to explain it to everyone else in the cast, or the audience, what you’re doing. Not too much jargon but just laying out the land.
The pilot was done last summer. When did you audition for the second episode?
I auditioned I think right after the pilot was done. I auditioned in the end of August, then a week later got it. I was actually up for another role for “Chicago PD.” I was working on that a lot, going to network and doing all that stuff, and this just came out of nowhere. Before I knew it, it was like where am I going to go? It just kind of happened.
That’s a good problem to have.
It was a good problem but it was really interesting because I was dying to know about “Chicago PD.” It was a long story but basically my mind was on that, hoping to hear from them and working on it, and then this came out of nowhere and I was like, “Oh, okay, I’ll do this. This seems cool.” And then It just kept going and going. Before I know it, I may have auditioned for it on a Monday and then by Friday they’re like, “You’re leaving Wednesday.”
Did you get to see the pilot before auditioning for “The 100?”
No. Someone snuck me an advanced copy, but I was already shooting some stuff before.
You already have quite a following from “General Hospital,” right?
Yeah, the “General Hospital” fans are amazing. So dedicated and so loving, even though I’m not on the show anymore, they still are interested in other things I’m doing and want to see it and have already talked about wanting to watch “The 100” for me. It’s the sweetest thing. I heard sci-fi fans are also amazing too so I feel like I’ve just been nestled into the fandom love.
Is doing a weekly show easier than doing a daily soap?
You know, you’d think it would be. I’ll tell you what’s easier is there’s a lot less dialogue, so that’s way easier. We’d be memorizing 30 pages a night every night, then go to work at 6AM and then you get off at 6PM and you’ve got another 30 more pages to memorize. So it’s a lot less dialogue, it’s fantastic, but what’s difficult about this shoot is the elements. Being in the freezing cold is hard. The costume department is great so we’ve really been doing everything they think of to keep our bodies warm, but the Ark, there’s not many clothes left. Everything that’s been on the Ark has been recycled and used and a hand me down and worn out. Whatever I’m wearing has technically been worn seven other times. It’s just threaded bare.
I remember I was shooting this one scene, and I don’t have any gloves on my costume, I got a tinge of frostbite on my fingers. I didn’t even realize it. I just thought my hands were cold. I thought I was fine, but my finger pads were hurting and they felt like they were constantly itching and aching. They were numb. I couldn’t feel any feeling back into it and it kind of freaked me out. Then my cousin who lives in Alaska and does all the snowboarding and skiing said, “Don’t worry about it. It’ll come back in like four days.” And it did and then I was fine, but the cold just takes it out of you like no other. You can just be standing in the cold, not doing anything, but it’ll just make you tired.
Was Detention your first movie?
Yes, first real movie. I did a church movie one time. [Laughs] I think it exists somewhere that I hope to God no one ever sees. I haven’t even seen it. My mom’s seen it. My mom was in it.
Was it just a production for your church?
It wasn’t even my church.
Was it actually something they thought was going to come out?
It was my mom’s friend’s church and it was a really sweet woman. They were making a movie about gang awareness and they wanted to sell it to schools around Houston just to be like, “Don’t be in a gang. Gangs are bad.” My mom’s friend knew I was interested in acting and they needed a Latina girl because, of course, everyone in a gang is Latin. [Laughs] They needed one so my mom told them about me.
I went in and I read for them, so they put me in it. I had a fiance in the movie. They got a real gang member to be my fiance. I’m talking been in prison, in and out, five different times, tattoos all over his face. He basically told me he may have killed someone. It scared me. They ended up recasting him, because he was too legit, with another guy that was also the same thing, been in gangs, but he’d been reformed. He’d been in prison about four times, also may have killed someone, told me that too. But he had less tattoos on his face. He only had one or two, versus the other guy was covered, but still very scary. Then my mom ended up being in the movie as my rich aunt. It was a mess and I never saw it, so I guess that would be my first movie. Detention was my first legitimate movie.
Your first movie that came out.
Yes, and that was good.
I love Detention. When you saw the script, did you get it in script form?
I couldn’t imagine how it would translate until it was finished.
I had to read it three or four times. Maybe I’m slow, before I really got its essence and really understood oh my God, this is so complex and intricate, but everything ties up and everything pays off, which I find amazing. You can watch a movie and it’s like it’s crazy with these crazy twists and turns but it doesn’t pay off or go anywhere and it’s stupid. That’s a waste of my life, you know what I mean? So I like that everything in Detention pays off.
Was fish sticks a reference to “South Park?”
No, I don’t think so. I just think [screenwriter] Mark Palermo likes fish sticks. He’s from Canada. They have great seafood there.