In the entertainment industry, it's all about who you know.
Making connections with individuals in or around the business can lead to incredible opportunities down the road, and that's exactly what happened for Cheshire High School graduate Anna Morse when she booked the role of a lifetime.
“When I say that my dreams came true, I literally mean I am living my dream right now,” Morse said holding her head in her hands. “I still cannot believe that it happened, and I am so grateful for the opportunity.”
As a child, Morse starred in multiple community theater productions and participated in CHS’s award-winning theater program. She went on to receive a Bachelors degree in Musical Theater from Western Connecticut State University in 2015.
This year, Morse will be starring in the action-packed Hollywood production entitled “American Siege,” starring one of the iconic stars of the silver screen, Bruce Willis.
Yet, as is the case with so many turns of good fortune, it almost didn’t happen at all for Morse.
“I have a friend (Laffrey Witbrod) who is a cinematographer … . He informed me that a film he was working on suddenly needed a new lead actress and he threw my name in,” Morse recounted. “While the directors liked my overall look, they weren’t sure I was a big enough name in the business to even be in a movie like this.”
However, it turns out that a random photo shoot from a few years prior would help Morse land the role. Morse and Laffrey had held the shoot in the desert outside of Los Angeles, unknowingly creating a perfect portfolio for the movie in which she would later star.
“I’ve always wanted to do a ‘Kill Bill’-themed photo shoot, and it was just something that we had randomly thought up. The director for (‘American Siege’) actually saw those photos on my IMDb (Internet Movie Database) page and thought I would be a perfect fit.”
The photos, along with sending in a self-taped audition, helped Morse land the role of Grace Barker, the movie’s anti-hero, all while she was working full-time as a science teacher in Tennessee.
“It was a whirlwind, really, and it happened so fast,” she explained. “I had about four hours of lead time between when they hired me and when I was on a plane to Georgia to begin filming.”
While Morse doesn’t want to give away the plot of her new movie before its official release date this year, she did give a few hints as to the nature of her character, who is hell-bent on getting what she wants, when she wants it.
As for what it was like to work with Willis, whose career has spanned four decades and includes notable roles in such films as “Die Hard” and “The Sixth Sense,” Morse explained that the superstar was a consummate professional at all times.
“While I only had a few scenes with him, we really did a lot of hanging out together in between scenes,” she said. “He and his acting friend who is also in the movie, Johnny Messner, were so sweet and they really made a point to make everyone involved in the movie feel special. My character is the anti-hero of the movie while Bruce is the sheriff of the town we’re in. My character is basically out for unbridled revenge”
While Morse had worked on professional movie sets before on lesser-known projects, such as the independent short films “Breadwinner” and “Reinvention: In the Beginning,” working during COVID-19 was an entirely different experience.
“We were tested (for COVID-19) constantly, but prior to actually filming, I was so worried I was going to get sick and have to stall production or potentially not be in the film at all,” she recalled. “We wore face shields and masks and it really was so safe.”
Much to Morse’s surprise, the entire movie was filmed in just nine days, after which Morse returned to her home in Tennessee, still somewhat in shock over what she’d just experienced.
“I was in denial, and I think I still am a little bit,” she added. “I would have never thought that something like this would happen the way it did, but I am so grateful that it did.”
What’s next for Morse? Recently, her girlfriend, Jessica Hindman popped the question, marking a brand-new chapter in her life.
“I’m going to be a military wife!” she gushed. “Besides that, I am always looking for creative endeavors, and I am looking to bring to life a script of my own that I wrote called ‘Daughter’ so be on the lookout.”