Haviland Morris

Meet the Artist: Haviland Morris

By Theresa MacNaughton, Community Engagement Associate

Haviland MorrisFrom the silver screen to the small screen to the Broadway stage, Haviland Morris has enjoyed a long and diverse career. Morris made her film debut in Reckless, which was followed by her star-making turn as prom queen Caroline Mulford in the John Hughes hit Sixteen Candles. Her other film credits include Gremlins 2: The New Batch and Who’s That Girl with Madonna. Morris has made numerous guest appearances on popular television series including The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, Elementary, and One Tree Hill. She was also a regular on One Life to Live. Morris starred as Chloé in the original Broadway production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. Her other Broadway credits include Ring Round the Moon and the revival of Tartuffe: Born Again. Regionally, Morris appeared in Bad Dates at Long Wharf Theatre. She is making her Hartford Stage debut in the world premiere of The Age of Innocence as Mrs. Archer. Hartford Stage caught up with Morris between rehearsals for a quick chat.

Haviland Morris in 'Sixteen Candles.' Photo courtesy of Universal Studios.
Haviland Morris in ‘Sixteen Candles.’ Photo courtesy of Universal Studios.

I read that you grew up in Hong Kong and Singapore before moving to the United States for college. What was that cultural transition like, and how did it influence you as an artist?

Hmmm. Well, I was born in the United States and then first moved to Hong Kong in the 2nd grade. That was an earth-shattering adjustment, but probably the biggest contribution it made to me as a human (and thus as an artist) was two-fold: being exposed to a broad expanse of cultures and peoples has a way of assisting in the development of expanded empathy, I think, as you are just interacting with a  bigger humanity information base. But in addition to that, the repeated upheaval to new cities and schools and cultures contributed to sort of an “I-survived-that!” flexibility which has been a great gift for all aspects of my life.

Haviland Morris in Tom Stoppard's 'Arcadia.' Photo by Joan Marcus.
Haviland Morris in Tom Stoppard’s ‘Arcadia.’ Photo by Joan Marcus.

Your career has been long and varied, from Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia at Lincoln Center to guest star roles on The Good Wife and Blue Bloods, to name a few. As someone who grew up admiring John Hughes, I would be remiss not to ask you about your famous turn in Sixteen Candles one of the most iconic teen films of all time. What are some of your favorite memories from making that film and of John Hughes as a director?

Ah, yes! That was a 100% fun experience from beginning to end – like going to summer camp for post-adolescents, with John as the ultimate, never-really-grew-out-of-being-a-camper, counselor.  It really was nothing like going to work – we just showed up on the set, did some of the lines in the script, improvised a bunch of others, and pretty much laughed all day.

What most excites you about originating a role in Douglas McGrath’s stage adaptation of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, directed by Doug Hughes?

Well, absolutely everything.  It’s such a glorious book; Douglas’s adaptation is so deft and lively and translates the story so poignantly; and I’ve wanted to work with Doug Hughes for years – so what’s not to be excited about?