Lindsey Morgan on Directing an Episode of ‘The 100’ and the Conclusion of Raven’s Story

     July 1, 2020

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In the next episode of The CW series The 100, entitled “The Queen’s Gambit,” the building tension at Sanctum is ready to boil over, while Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos), Diyoza (Ivana Milicevic) and Echo (Tasya Teles) struggle to understand what the residents of Bardo want with them. The episode also marks the directorial debut of actress Lindsey Morgan, who joins the ranks alongside co-stars Henry Ian Cusick and Bob Morley.

During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, Lindsey Morgan talked about what it feels like when you know you’re shooting the final season of a long-running TV series, how much the storylines for Season 7 changed, what she thought about where her character ended up by the finale, what prepared her for directing this episode, the biggest lesson she learned, the mementos she got to keep, and her favorite episode this season. She also talked about signing on for the upcoming CW series Walker, and why the character feels deeply personal to her.

the-100-season-7-posterCollider: After spending so many seasons on a series, what’s it like to go into a season, knowing that it’s the last season and that you’re saying goodbye. Does it all feel different?

LINDSEY MORGAN: I suppose at first, but then, you just start working. We move so fast. It just feels very familiar, but also, I did find myself savoring some things more, like moments with my castmates or my crew, or just moments before I would play Raven, when I was in my trailer. I found myself really savoring the memory and trying not to move too quickly through it. So, yeah, I suppose it is a little different.

Were you given an overview for what this final season arc would be, or what Raven’s journey would be, at all, or did you learn about that, along the way?  

MORGAN: At the beginning, our writers do give us a little bit of an overview of what they’re thinking, but we had a lot of changes this season that were unforeseeable, that actually caused the entire season to be rewritten and changed, and storylines were changed or dropped. So, I’d say that this season probably changed the most, out of all of our seasons, while we were in the middle of it. So, it was a pretty crazy season, for us all.

What was your reaction to learning where your character would end up and how her journey would conclude? Was it surprising to you? Did it feel satisfying?

MORGAN: Well, it changed. It changed a bit, from what I was initially told, but overall, it felt true to Raven. It felt true to how Raven would behave, in the situation and circumstance, and I just love that it allowed for that kind of poetic justice for her. So, I’m very pleased with how it ended for Raven. I didn’t see it coming, at all, but I really loved it, for her story.

Other cast members have directed episodes of this series. Did they inspire you to take this step, as a director, with this episode, or was it something that you had been thinking about or wanting to do for awhile?

MORGAN: Yeah, I had been interested in directing since probably about after Season 4, and that was probably because [Henry] Ian Cusick had directed and Bob Morley was shadowing. I was like, “Oh, that’s so cool that they’re doing that.” But even though I’d been on set for so many years, I felt like I still needed to focus on acting, so I hadn’t really ever thought about directing. But then, I had asked to shadow, on Season 5. That’s when you get to be the fly on the wall of the director of that episode, and sit in with them during their prep meetings and their process and with them on set, and just be mentored by them. I had such a great experience. I learned so much. And the biggest thing that I learned from my director, who’s name is Alex Kalymnios, was that she was a new mom. She had a one-and-a-half-year-old. I was like, “How do you do it all?” And she was like, “You just make it work. It’s not impossible. You give it your all, and it can be quite rewarding.” That really inspired me, that it’s possible for me to be an actor, but still broaden myself and challenge myself to learn a new skill and be more creative and try to do something different, that interests me, as long as I have passion for it. So, I found it to be really quite a rewarding experience.

What was it like to find out which episode you’d be directing, read that script, and then see what you’d have to be tackling?

MORGAN: So, I didn’t know that I was gonna direct until about three weeks before it happened. I was in shock and a bit overwhelmed, but also incredibly excited. When I got the first script, I was very energized by it. And then, the script changed quite a lot, but that’s the name of the game. My biggest lesson was that you have to adapt. Even with all of the changes to the script, it always made the script better. I would change my plan and my process, or be challenged to think of new ways to do something. I felt stimulated, creatively, in a whole new way that I’ve never felt before. I was a bit obsessed, for like five months, with it. I really enjoyed it.

the-100-poster-lindsey-morganWhat do you feel that acting taught you about directing, and what did you learn about acting from directing an episode of the show?

MORGAN: Oh, a ton. I always feel that acting taught me how to talk to actors. We have our own language, and we have our own code, too – our moral code. So, going in, I knew what actors liked from directors, and what they did it. That was really a big asset to me because I knew how to communicate. Every actor is a puzzle, in the sense of their process and how they work. Because of my experience, I had an advantage of figuring out everyone’s puzzle, much faster than any director without that experience would have. It was my secret weapon. I felt very confident about that. But as far as what I learned about acting from directing was a lot of camera placement and what the camera is capturing, and also what you need to be doing, as an actor, that’s gonna look best for the camera. As an actor, you’re just being in the moment and being true to that emotion, but there are things that you can do to look best for just the movement of the camera and the medium of film. I found that to be really interesting.

With something like The 100, it’s a different kind of show and these characters don’t have a lot of props or mementos that they’re attached to because it’s just not that kind of world. But was there anything that you got to take home from the set, that really represented the character for you?

MORGAN: Yeah, I took home Raven’s iconic orange jacket and her leg brace.

What do you do with items like that? Do you have to decide whether or not you’re going to frame them and display them in some way, or do you put them in a closet?

MORGAN: I always laughed and joked that I was gonna bronze the brace and make it a trophy, but I’m actually thinking about it. My mom has a lot of my memorabilia, so I’m thinking of getting the jacket framed and she’ll keep it for me.

Did you have a favorite episode to shoot this season, as an actor?

MORGAN: I do love the end. I really enjoyed what Raven got to do in the finale. The scenes were a bit tricky for me. I remember getting the script, and it took me a week to really understand what I was saying and what I was doing. I really had to dig deeper than I have, for some of Raven’s other storylines. I really enjoyed that. I really liked that. I’m excited to see it ‘cause I haven’t seen it, and I’m curious

What do you remember about your first day, on the show? How different did you feel, as an actress and as a person, at the beginning of this, compared to how you felt, by the time that you got to the end?

MORGAN: Oh, my gosh, on the first episode, I was so nervous. I had never worked out of the country before. It was such a new experience. I did a soap opera, prior, and that was really different than the way primetime is shot. I just didn’t know what to expect, but it was pretty cool. My first scenes were me coming out of the spacesuit, so I was stripping down to my sports bra and boy shorts. I was super nervous, but I was excited. And at the end, I was still excited, but I was also proud. The nervous girl, seven years ago, walked away from this strong and empowered and proud of herself. I guess that would be the difference.

The 100 has finished shooting, but you’re already looking ahead and sticking with The CW for a bit longer, and staying in the action world, by signing on for Walker. What most excites you about that show and that character, and what you’ll get to do with her?

MORGAN: Walker feels deeply personal to me, as Lindsey, because the role of Micki sometimes makes me feel like I could have been Micki, if I had stayed in Texas, where I’m from, and grew up and decided to go into the Armed Forces. Before I chose acting, I was really considering politics or social work. Micki, being a police officer and an Army vet, is very passionate about the way that society is governed and the treatment of people in the world, and I’ve felt that purpose, too. I just identify with Micki so much, as far as what she’s had to experience, growing up as a Latinx woman in Texas. Some of the experiences that she’s found herself in, I also had, while I lived there. So, it feels very personal to me – her culture, her story and her history. It scared me a bit because sometimes it’s tough to play things that are very close to home, but I also think I’m ready for that challenge. I wanna bring the heart that I have to her, for this project. It means a lot to me, I suppose.

The 100 airs on Wednesday nights on The CW.

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