FALL RIVER — It’s been quite an exciting journey for local native and actress Pamela Jayne Morgan, whose pursuit of her passion has seen her soak in the spotlight alongside well-known faces.
“Within a year, I’ve starred in projects alongside big name actors including Kevin Bacon, Keira Knightley, Paul Giamatti and Jesse Eisenberg. How’s that for a girl from Fall River!” said Morgan, 58.
In the Rehoboth resident’s final “pinch me” moment, she can be seen on the small screen, just one degree away from Kevin Bacon, on the Showtime series “City on a Hill.”
Morgan, who cut his teeth in local community theater groups, appears in Season 3, Episode 2 of the series, set in early 1990s Boston, sharing a stage with the “Apollo 13” star.
According to the show’s official description: “Assistant DA Decourcy Ward (Aldis Hodge) forms an unlikely alliance with a corrupt but revered FBI veteran, Jackie Rohr (Kevin Bacon). Together, they take on a case that ultimately changes all of the city’s criminal justice system. system.”
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How she ended up in “City on a Hill”
Morgan — whose most recent work includes a scene from the HBO Max series “Julia” which premiered this spring — said she’s been climbing that hill to “City on a Hill” for a while now.
“Since I’ve lived near Boston all my life and can put the accent at will, in addition to being a huge Kevin fan, I made it my mission to book a role on this show” , said Morgan, noting the project piqued his interest a few years ago when it was still in development.
So she took classes to meet the casting directors to get to know her and her work, watched the show to get to grips with its tone and storylines, and trusted that she would finish. by scoring an audition.
“A big part of being an actor’s success, as well as of life in general, is being positive; sending positive energy out into the universe in order to manifest their dreams,” Morgan said. “‘If not this one, something better’ – a solid mantra to live by.”
“Sometimes it’s a matter of timing and the vision that the director and the studio have in mind for a particular role,” she added.
It turns out that the third time is a charm for Morgan. She auditioned twice for a role in Season 2 but was not cast, and when they began production on Season 3, they landed another audition for a role that “fitted me perfectly.”
Morgan plays Philomena Moretti, “an experienced, battle-scarred mortician at the city morgue who isn’t easily intimidated, especially when Jackie Rohr is looking for information on a particular corpse.”
Filming for “City on a Hill” took place in Manhattan in October and was a quick shoot. Her scene with Bacon lasted just over a minute, but her time on set was most memorable.
“The team is as impressive as ever. It’s amazing how many people work together to achieve what we see on TV and in the movies. They work like a well-oiled machine and being part of that mechanism is so rewarding. .Best job ever!” she says.
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In fact, this isn’t the first time Morgan has crossed paths with the versatile actor whose role in “Footloose” made him a household name in 1984. She has worked with Bacon and his wife, the actress Kyra Sedgwick, in June 2021 on the film “Space Oddity”, which was shot in Rhode Island and directed by Sedgwick.
Morgan, who landed a small role in scenes opposite Bacon, recalls what a surreal experience it was.
“I can’t tell you what incredibly nice people they are,” Morgan said. “I had such a ‘pinch me’ moment being led by Kyra, and having her applaud my performance, and acting opposite a top actor like Kevin. So when I booked ‘City on a Hill’, I already had a comfort level with him, he’s so down to earth.
She describes Bacon as very sweet and easy to talk to.
“He’s very nice and likes to chat between scenes. He told me that their son was composing the music for the film. I told him that one of my goals was to be cast in ‘City on a Hill.’ And it happened,” she said.
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While it can be hard not to be starstruck in the presence of Hollywood’s elite, Morgan said the butterflies eventually fade.
“Once you get past that, you’re just two actors there to do a job and do your best and play against each other. It really goes away because if you can’t go beyond that, you’re not going to be able to do your job well,” she said.
And while chatting with these A-list co-stars between takes, she said, you quickly realize “they’re just like us.”
“Yeah, they’re well known but they talk about their kids…we talk about the latest movies,” Morgan said, recounting the conversation she had with Paul Giamatti on set about binging recommendations.
Although some actors are hesitant to watch themselves on screen, Morgan said she finds it both exciting and helpful.
“I want to see it…we’re all our biggest critics,” Morgan said. “At this point in my career, it’s all still very exciting to me that I’m booking roles with these top actors and I want to see if I’m doing on stage, am I hiding, what’s -what can I improve.I think everyone should look at their own work and applaud themselves.
How she started acting
Since being bitten by the theater bug at the age of 15, when she was cast as Mrs. Keller in Durfee’s production of ‘The Miracle Worker’, it’s been a long and hard road. curvy for Morgan as she pursued her acting dreams.
In her twenties, she took a 20-year hiatus to perform with community theater companies, including Little Theater of Fall River and Your Theater in New Bedford. During that time, she charted an interesting career path – from working at an AM radio station in Fall River selling commercials and doing voice-overs for commercials, to media communications specialist, to opening a theatrical dance company in serving as a children’s theater director for a non-profit organization. she co-founded.
“I feel so lucky to be doing what I love to do. As a girl, I dreamed of it. As a young adult, I put that dream on hold to create a very successful career path, raise my daughter and take care of my family. . As a ‘mature’ middle-aged woman, I gave myself the gift of chasing my dream again,” she said.
“I always wanted to do film and television and when I turned 50 I said I was going to throw my hat in the ring, I have nothing to lose,” he said. she adds.
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Morgan’s big TV break came in 2019, when she was cast in “Law & Order: SVU” in a scene with Mariska Hargitay, who plays title character Olivia Benson. This past year has been its most successful yet in terms of strong bookings, Morgan said.
In addition to “City on a Hill” and “Space Oddity,” the latter of which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in June, Morgan has shot scenes in the upcoming “Out of the Blue,” starring alongside Ray Nicholson, son of Jack Nicholson, and Diane Kruger. She is also in upcoming feature films “Boston Strangler”, “The Holdovers”, directed by Academy and Golden Globe winner Alexander Payne, in which she has a scene opposite Paul Giamatti and Da’Vine Joy Randolph, as well as the television mini-series, “Fleishman Is in Trouble” opposite Jesse Eisenberg.
Although she has plenty to be excited about lately, Morgan said her favorite project she’s worked on so far is ‘Boston Strangler,’ slated for release in 2023, in which she co-stars with Keira Knightley.
It is based on the true story of the Boston Strangler, the name given to the killer of 13 women in the Boston area in the early 1960s, told from the perspective of the character of Knightley, a reporter for the boston globe at this moment.
“That role for me was so heartbreaking that I feel like it’s probably the best role not only I was cast in, but performance-wise I’ve delivered,” said Morgan, who is in four scenes with Knightley. “And the story is so significant that it goes a long way.”
She also filmed a few episodes of the television series “Luna, the witch”, available on Amazon Prime, and a short film, “Aaron with 2 A”.
And several of Morgan’s films have gone on the festival circuit.
She produced and starred in her own short, ‘The Principal’s Assembly’ – filmed at the former BMC Durfee High School – which received second place in the People’s Choice Award at the 31st annual Woods Hole Film Festival.
Before the pandemic, she also shot the short film “Blood Brothers” in Fall River – written, directed and produced by fellow countryman Kyle Gregory – for which she won Best Actress at the 2021 Open Gate International Film Festival. She also received Best Actress for her role in the independent film “Goodbye Honey” at the 2021 Garden State Film Festival and the 2020 NOLA Horror Film Fest, and will tour more this fall, including the LA qualifying for the International Short Film Festival Oscars.
While Morgan said she doesn’t have any projects in the works at the moment, the movies she’s been working on are slated for release in the coming year.
In the meantime, she auditions and enjoys the ride.
“It’s so good to get this email from my agents or my casting offices that basically says we want YOU to audition – it’s a vote of confidence in my ability to be a piece of the casting puzzle. that brings a storyline to life and makes people laugh, think, cry…feel,” Morgan said.
To learn more about Morgan, visit her website at www.PamelaJayneMorgan.com or her IMDb page at www.imdb.me/pamelajaynemorgan.