Morgan Saylor is cherub-faced star of Homealand, the edge-of-your-seat US drama that packs a lot of punch.
There is no more laid back actress in the world than Morgan Saylor. In her two seasons playing Dana on Homeland – the Rodarte-ish, pot-smoking, smile-free daughter of complex, exiled Iraqi war-hero (or is he?) Nicholas Brody – Morgan has invested the character with a kind of every-teen diffidence. “People like Dana because she can be badass,” Morgan says over the phone from her home in Atlanta, Georgia. “And they don’t like her because she can be badass. She’s not cookie-cutter.” She is Homeland’s Clueless by way of Urban Outfitters ‘edge’. Every show needs that, right?
Morgan first read for the part of Dana in December 2010, having just turned sixteen. “It was just a normal audition,” she recounts, “I didn’t know very much about the project. I knew who Claire Danes was and I knew Homeland was related in some way to what 24 had done, but other than that it was just another audition.” Little did she know that the show would go on to draw an international audience of millions, receive nine nominations and six awards at the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, and win the Golden Globe for Best Television Drama, amongst a host of other awards and nominations too many to mention.
Right now you greet Morgan in her graduating year at high school (“I am so normal. I like Math”) and at a distinct crossroads in her life. It is not every high school grad that has their potential path mapped out for them for the next four years, but with the talk of five follow-up seasons, she’s remaining playfully circumspect about whether college will actually happen or not. “It is hard enough juggling school,” she confesses. “I’m trying to work out whether college would even work!”
Morgan’s self-deprecation has a funny side. She says that in every interview she has ever done for Homeland people have asked her about the Sopranos credit that appears at the top of her IMDB page. “It was just a voiceover,” she deadpans. Morgan downplays her pre-Homeland history too, almost to the point of under-selling. “I think I did a few commercials and then a movie Cirque de Freak and an episode of a show called K-Ville. Nothing big. I mean, kind of flops.” So does Morgan look at Dakota Fanning and think ‘I want those roles’? “Kind of, yeah!” she laughs. “The roles I audition for always go to the bigger actresses. It sucks. But I think after having Homeland on my resume I could get there in the end and do some fantastic roles.”
Text: Paul Flynn
Photography: Michael Hauptman
Styling: Sasha Kelly
Hair and Make-up: Leanne Hirsch
Photography assistance: Joseph Belevan
Styling assistance: Austin Cantrell
From left. Look one: Morgan wears Prada. Look two: Dress Marc by Marc Jacobs. Shirt (around waist) American Apparel. Jacket vintage Amacord. Look three: Jcket Levi’s. Dress T by Alexander Wang. Roll neck Gap. Sunglasses Mercura.
Back to The Alphabetical Issue