The first time I saw Patrick Morgan act was in Melissa Kunnap’s short film Feast, and I was completely taken in by her performance. She had a quality that I could not quite describe but I knew I was seeing something real in her every gesture.
Little did I know when I wrote that review that I would have the privilege of sitting down to chat with Patrick for Horror Pride Month this year. As it turns out, Morgan is even more gracious and emotionally open than I could have imagined.
“Horror movies terrify me,” she began on a Friday afternoon in May. It’s not the typical response one expects when chatting with someone with genre work under their belt, but she went on. “Being in them is one thing but watching them gives me so much anxiety. I think I’ve become more of a fan recently in working with Melissa and realizing that horror is a way to confront issues in kind of a safe way to neutralize them. If you give a demon a name, then you take away its power and I love that about horror.”
Morgan and Kunnap are working on another short film together at the moment called Torn Together, something equally as terrifying as Feast in a completely different way, and this time Morgan is helping pen the script which dives deep into highly personal subject matter.
For Morgan this means facing identity and what it means to be herself.
“It’s taking a lot of personal issues and giving them faces and names,” she explained. “It’s been therapeutic but at some point, Melissa and I realized that other people were going to see this! This is a conversation I’ve only had with my mirror before and now I’m putting it out there for everyone to see.”
That inner conversation has centered, in part, on her personal transition journey. Part of which has involved looking for images in the media with which she can identify.
“When I first started this journey with my therapist I told them there was nothing and no one out there that I could really identify with,” she explained. “What’s crazy is that in the last four years we suddenly have Pose and Star which has a trans woman in the lead. Then Laverne Cox was on Orange is the New Black! I don’t know quite where my transition journey will lead me but it’s been amazing to see these examples in the media.”
Morgan points out that many of the roles she’s been sent out for on auditions have either been prostitutes or roles that were tied up in just being trans rather than being a person. Furthermore, she says what she’s grown to love about the genre is that it empowers its protagonists which could be a boon for trans portrayals in media.
This is why Torn Together and her other project Duchess of Grand Park has meant so much to her.
“I’ve been thinking of this as my year of empowerment,” she said. “If I’m not finding the roles that I want to play, I’m going to write them myself.”
It’s the kind of attitude I’ve seen from a lot of LGBTQ filmmakers during Pride Month, and honestly it gives me hope.
As our time was coming to a close, I circled back around to the beginning and asked her what type of horror she really loved and she surprised me once again when, with a sheepish tone she said the one thing I wasn’t expecting.
“I really kind of like the first two parts of the Scary Movie franchise.”
Turns out Patrick Morgan has a thing for horror comedies and as I quickly dropped a few suggestions and we prepared to end the interview, I couldn’t help feeling that she’s well on her way to becoming a horror fan in every sense of the word.
If there’s one thing I’m absolutely certain of, it’s that Patrick Morgan can and will provide the kind of representation for others that she’s looked for herself. And that is exactly what the world needs.