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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Actress and Producer Cindy Morgan talks with TV STORE ONLINE about the making of such iconic films as TRON and CADDYSHACK as well as the rumored untitled third installment in the TRON franchise.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I know you get asked a lot about the making of TRON (1982) and CADDYSHACK (1980) so I wanted to start this out by throwing you a curve ball and ask you about UP YOUR LADDER (1979)....

CINDY MORGAN:  Yeah....That was one days work.  I don't really wanna acknowledge it because it was re-edited into something that it originally wasn't supposed to be.   The film I shot wasn't the film that they released.  It was originally supposed to be something like Love American Style (1969-1974) but they turned it into something else.     Once I had done CADDYSHACK they went back and re-cut it.  They were exploiting my appearance in CADDYSHACK, and from what I understand it's pretty creepy now.  I've never seen it.   I was just called in for one days work to do some narration.   It was supposed to be pretty PG, but they re-cut it and inserted some other scenes into it and I can't be responsible for their naughty behavior on that.   


Theatrical Poster for UP YOUR LADDER (1979)

TV STORE ONLINE:  So I have this theory that all actors have a subconscious desire to act from an early age, but yet you didn't really have an interest in it from the start?

CINDY MORGAN: No, I didn't to tell you the truth.  I was a nerd as a kid.  I wore those really thick glasses and I was always studying in high school.   When I went off to college I got into broadcasting, and that came from me being put into a speech class, and that probably happened to me because I had a stutter.   I hadn't really thought about acting.  I did take one acting class in college though, but when I went in there the teacher wanted the students to act like a piece of chewing gum.  I looked around and said, "I'm outta here!"  I decided that I was going to go into communications.   

I went into college with a stutter and I came out as a radio and television broadcaster.   I grew up in Chicago but I went off to Rockford, Illinois and I got a job.  I had my own radio show, I did the weather on a local channel and rather awfully I must say and I used to make commercials for record albums too.   My boss wold give me a record album and say, "Make me a commercial for this album."  So I'd go through the album and pick like twenty-eight seconds of it that I liked, then I'd take some of the information off the back of the album.
   
TV STORE ONLINE:   So growing up as a kid in Chicago you were also a fan of science fiction movies.  Were you a fan of things in Chicago that were on television like Jerry G. Bishop as Svengoolie?

CINDY MORGAN:  Oh Yeah....Sure....Sure.  You bet I loved that.  I loved everything Sci-fi.  I loved anything Jules Verne.   I also loved comedy too.   I can remember when I saw NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE (1978) in the theater while I was in college.  Little did I know that just a short time after that I'd be working with those guys.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Getting hired for CADDYSHACK did you watch some of the comedy that those guys were making at the time like Saturday Night Live (1975-Current) for example?

CINDY MORGAN:  As soon as I knew that I was going to be working with those guys I stopped watching Saturday Night Live.   I knew that I just wanted to react those guys and not be so familiar with them.

TV STORE ONLINE:  It seems like I read somewhere that prior to shooting CADDYSHACK, the writer Doug Kenney asked you to take a look at Lauren Bacall's performance in TO HAVE OR HAVE NOT (1944)?

CINDY MORGAN:  That's true.  He sure did.

TV STORE ONLINE:  What was the story behind that?

CINDY MORGAN:  Well, 'Lacey Underall' was a character that Doug had actually met.  He and the Murray brothers all grew up working at a country club, and Doug had actually met this girl who was just like Lacey Underall.   Doug said that he had a specific vision of Lauren Bacall  when he was writing the movie.   I tried to capture not her voice or her look, but just the way that she handled herself.   Things didn't matter that much to Lacey, she just liked to have fun, and she was pretty much in charge of her life and everybody's around her.   Seeing TO HAVE OR HAVE NOT really helped a lot, because it gave me something to look it.   It wasn't long after I was cast in CADDYSHACK that I had to start with all of these lessons.  I took bodybuilding lessons, tennis lessons, golfing lessons, voice lessons, diving lessons.   Some I took to, and some I didn't.  It was a lot to learn in a month.


TV STORE ONLINE:  So how did you find Lacey from within?  I mean, she's such a sexual character, but yet she has an element of women's liberation to her as well....

CADDYSHACK T-shirt
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CINDY MORGAN:  Right, Yeah.  A lot of guys don't understand that about her.   We had just burned our bras a few years before.  That's why she doesn't wear a bra in the movie.  Lacey was really born during the second scene we shot in CADDYSHACK.   The topless scene.   I cleared the set that day and that was when Lacey was born.   The Lacey that Doug Kenney met was really cocky and she had sorta blew Doug off when he tried to talk to her.   There was actually a line in the shooting script that I convinced Harold [Ramis] to cut out.   It was, "Hi I'm Lacey.  I'm seventeen and I'm trouble."   I said to Harold, "Look, this is comedy, but I'm never gonna be able to pull off  being seventeen and if you're gonna have a nude scene let's get rid of that line..."   

TV STORE ONLINE:  Going into the shooting of CADDYSHACK and working with people like Bill Murray and Chevy Chase and Rodney Dangerfield, did you struggle as a new actor with being intimidated by those guys?

CINDY MORGAN:  I would've if I would've thought about it.   The first person I really got to know on the shoot was Ted Knight.   He was wonderful to me.   He took me out to breakfast and explained to me how everything worked.   It was like he was doing his character from the Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977).  He was very charming.

TV STORE ONLINE:   Then what about the topless scene?

CINDY MORGAN:   Yeah, I had to clear that set myself. One of the producers, Jon Peters, had brought in a photographer from Playboy to shoot it.   I didn't want him there, so I told him to leave.   Jon Peters told me that I'd never work in the industry again after CADDYSHACK and I didn't for a while afterward.  I didn't work for like a year after CADDYSHACK.  I didn't work again until Disney called for TRON.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Chevy Chase had left SNL by the time he started work on CADDYSHACK.   I've read so much about his ego during this era, did you experience any of that with him during shooting?

CINDY MORGAN:  Sure.  Oh course.  We went head-to-head a couple of times.  Some of our best work in CADDYSHACK was when we weren't actually talking to one another.   Take the piano scene with Chevy and I.  It works just beautifully even though we weren't really speaking to each other for that.   We had been working on that sequence for days.  It was so hot, and my make-up was just pouring off my face.    We had shot most of that sequence, and Harold said to me, "Come over here and sit down at the piano and say to Chevy - Sing me a love song."    So I sat down, and said it that Chevy.   Chevy launches into "I Was Born To Love You..."  There was no rehearsal, and it wasn't in the script, but we started doing that and out of the corner of my eye I noticed that they had started filming us!  You can see how surprised I am in the scene, just look at my face.

Another instance were we weren't getting along to well was during the massage scene with the oil.   It was a love scene, we were in south Florida, it was hot.  Chevy starts poking me and starts to say stuff to me, so I started poking him back, and I started talking to him.  This escalated to us arguing for about forty-five minutes on the set until he left.   He came back later and said that he wanted to shoot two master shots, and that was where he dumps that bottle of oil on my back.    That's another scene where what you see on my face in the scene is actually me just reacting to what was actually happening to me.  

TV STORE ONLINE:  What about working with Rodney Dangerfield?


CINDY MORGAN:   He was great.   It was his first movie and he was really nervous about it.  I remember one day, Rodney and I were having lunch together, and it was just like being with Rodney on stage.  He was sitting there with me and tugging on his collar saying, "Am I OK?  Am I OK? This is my first movie."   He was worried about how his performance was coming across because he wasn't getting any laughs on the set.  He didn't know how he was doing because as a comic he was so used to getting laughs on stage and he'd use that to time his jokes.  This was his comeback job.  It was so important to him.  Prior to shooting CADDYSHACK he was selling Aluminium siding to support his family.  He shouldn't  have been worried, he stole the movie!

TV STORE ONLINE:  CADDYSHACK had to have been just a very loose set.

CINDY MORGAN:  Loose!?!?  Everyday you'd show up on the set directly from the party that you had been to the night before!  You'd roll into make-up and go to the set and say, "What are we doing today?"  The script wasn't even a guideline for most of the shoot...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE:   What can you tell me about THE MIDNIGHT HOUR (1985)?

CINDY MORGAN:  That was a lot of fun, but what a weird juxtaposition of concepts.   An ABC Movie-Of-The-Week horror musical where I play a substitute teacher who turns into a vampire.  And it had a great cast too...LeVar Burton, Peter DeLuise, Shari Belafonte.....It was just silly as hell, but I wish it would've aired more than it did.

TV STORE ONLINE:   Will you tell me about shooting the "Get Dead" dance party sequence in THE MIDNIGHT HOUR?

CINDY MORGAN:  That was post Michael Jackson's Thriller.  So it really made sense.  It took about a day to shoot, maybe two.  They didn't do much coverage for that part where we come down the stairway.  It was fun though.  I got to dance on the floor with Peter DeLuise.  The funny thing about it was that by the end of the movie my character ends up a vampire and impaled on a stake on a bush.  I was laying there for hours.  Eventually everyone went home and they left me there.  So I had to get myself off of that bush and I had to drive home in that make-up and those fangs on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles.



TV STORE ONLINE:  Then what about Amazing Stories (1985-87)?  I'm a huge fan of Gail and Kevin Parrent who wrote the episode of AS that you did, "Hell Toupee".  They wrote for The Carol Burnett Show (1967–1978).  Its a hilarious episode.

CINDY MORGAN:  Yeah, it is funny.   I'll never forget going in and reading for that.  I went in and started reading for the director of the episode Irvin Kershner.  The only two people that have actually ever directed me are Harold Ramis and Irvin Kershner.  Kershner was awesome.  I remember that when he was describing the character to me I sort of looked at him and said, "What?"  He stopped me, grabbed a Polaroid camera and took a picture of me in that moment, and then showed it to me.  He said, "That's the character."   It was one of the only times where I got to play a dumb blond.  I thought of her as Judy Holiday from BORN YESTERDAY (1950) but I tried not to put too much of that into her.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I watched a film of yours the other day for the first time called GALAXIS (1995)....

CINDY MORGAN:  Oh yes. That was an indie film.  The cool thing about GALAXIS was that when I was at its first screening the people seemed sad when my character died on screen.   Brigitte [Nielsen] was very sweet and nice to work with.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I think GALAXIS is great just because you get to share a screen credit with Sam Raimi.

CINDY MORGAN:   Yeah, I think that's cool too.

TV STORE ONLINE:  How did TRON (1982) come to you?

CINDY MORGAN:   They called me.  I got a a call from Disney asking me if I could come in and meet with Steven Lisberger and test with Jeff Bridges.   I got the part, but it wasn't until later that I learned that they had also been considering Debby Harry from the music group Blondie for the part.

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TV STORE ONLINE:  So how did you find that character?

CINDY MORGAN:  Well, I just played myself in the real world.  In the computer world I had to make some choices.  Because there was really nothing for me to work off of.  I started thinking to myself that if I had to create a computer program then it would have a sort of two dimensional personality and memory like my own.  It would be kind of child like, because of my lack of experience in that world but it would still have some of my own traits and tendencies.   It was kind of tough to do.  In fact, I didn't know it until years later but Bruce [Boxleitner] did the same sort of thing to find his character as well.

TV STORE ONLINE:   I've heard that Steven Lisberger wasn't much for giving his actors motivation or direction on the set of TRON...

CINDY MORGAN:  laughing...He'd just say stuff like, "Go here. Go there. Duck... Look over there! Hit that mark."   It was pretty difficult actually.   It was really hard to see your mark when you're on an all black stage.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Fans seem to love the pink angora sweater outfit that your character wears in TRON?

CINDY MORGAN:  Disney made that for me.  I remember that when I was getting fitted for the 'Yori' costume they had done some contouring to the costume for me shall we say.  I said to the lady, "Really? Disney does this to costumes?"  She said, "Honey, that's nothing. You should see the stuff we make over on the guys side."   When it came time to make that sweater, the costume lady asked me what my favorite color was, and on that particular day I was wearing a pink shirt.  So I told her pink.   They actually woved it and dyed it for me, it was crazy.

TV STORE ONLINE:  One of the scenes that has always stuck out to me in TRON is where the three of your characters are trying to break into Encom and you're standing in front of that surreal giant red door....

CINDY MORGAN:  Right, Yeah.  That was shot at Livermore Labs.  That was a nuclear power plant that was like ten or twenty stories underground, and I have no idea how we got in there.  That was a real door.   Our lighting guy, Bruce Logan said afterward, that the security there would follow him into the men's room.   Everything you see in those sequences is real equipment.  I have no idea how they managed to get us in there to shoot.

TV STORE ONLINE:  I love the sort of German Expressionist vibe that's going on in the movie with the ships and then the costumes too...

CINDY MORGAN:   That was Moebius.  He designed our costumes.  That god awful skull cap that I wear in the first half of the movie was designed by him.  It was shammy cloth with wire running through it. It was awful.  They had to glue it to my skin. I got tired of that thing. I had started to bleed from it, so I told them that I was gonna wear one of the hockey helmets like the guys because I just couldn't take it anymore.  I was getting blisters on my head from them taking that off and putting it back on over and over.  That's why I show up on the Solar Sailer with one of those hockey helmets on.

TV STORE ONLINE:  When it comes to TRON.... People never talk about the great Barnard Hughes.  What was your experience working with him?

CINDY MORGAN:   So charming.  He was such a trooper.  He had to be in that just gigantic and awful almost WIZARD OF OZ (1939) like outfit.   Between takes, you could tell just how uncomfortable he was in that outfit.  You could just see the sweat pouring off of him.  He was so patent.

TV STORE ONLINE:  My favorite visual from TRON is that great and so beautiful two-shot of your character and Jeff Bridges kissing on the Solar Sailer....

CINDY MORGAN:   I know.  I didn't know how close they were to us on that when we were shooting that.  It took Jeff about twenty takes to get that right though...laughing   That was so beautiful, it turned out really wonderful.

Cindy Morgan and Jeff Bridges in TRON (1982)


TV STORE ONLINE:  The natural progression of questioning here would be for me to ask you how it was to kiss Jeff Bridges....

CINDY MORGAN:   laughing...It was great.  It was just fine.   I got to kiss both my leading men in  that movie.   It was a tough job...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE:  There are some online rumors going around and it's listed on your IMDb page that you're going to have a part in the as of yet unnamed third TRON movie...Are those rumors true?

CINDY MORGAN:  I think you need to ask the people that started the rumors.  I didn't start them.  If you click the link on my IMDb it goes to Disney's page, and I don't know them to make mistakes.  Maybe their just seeing how people react, I don't know.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Leave us with your favorite memory of working on TRON?

CINDY MORGAN:  My favorite TRON memory.....I just loved going to work every morning.  There were long hours, but it was so much fun.   I just loved getting the call from the Assistant Director saying, "We're ordering Sushi today, what kind would you like?"  Also, too, there's when I called my father.   I called him and said, "Dad, Dad, I just got this cool part in this movie with Disney called TRON..."  He said, "That's great Cynth, when ya coming home?"

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