The eldest of three girls in a Pawleys Island family also plays a daughter on an AMC series airing at 10 p.m. Sundays.
On “Halt and Catch Fire,” Morgan Hinkleman, a 9-year-old who attends Waccamaw Elementary School and will enter fourth grade this fall, plays Joanie Clark, the daughter of the two main characters, Gordon Clark, portrayed by Scoot McNairy, and Donna Clark (Kerry Bishé).
Morgan’s real-life mother, Stacy Ownbey, said the girl filmed parts in seven of the 10 episodes of the drama, which premiered June 1.
Ownbey said the filming took place in Atlanta, also the home of Morgan’s business agent from East Coast Talent. She and husband Jarrod Ownbey, an attorney in North Myrtle Beach, other two children are 5 and 2, and the family also includes two dogs. They adjusted to periods of travel by taking turns shuttling Morgan on the six-hour drive to and from Atlanta, so one parent was always at home with the rest of the family.
The acting bug bit Morgan early. As soon as she was about 5 years old, it seemed “she decided this is what she wanted to do,” said Stacy Ownbey, noting some hereditary irony, “because you can’t get me in front of the camera.”
Ownbey said that at age 6, two years before filming for “Halt and Catch Fire,” Morgan was cast in the role of “the younger version of the main character ... for a couple of episodes” on NBC’s “Revolution,” a series that ended May 21.
Morgan said her favorite aspect of acting is “seeing everyone on the set.”
Her tastes as a TV viewer also have undergone transitions with age.
“When I was younger,” Morgan said, “I liked ‘Hannah Montana,’ and I grew out of that.”
She said she probably most enjoys watching Disney Channel’s “Jessie” these days.
Recording the shows
Morgan sees “Halt and Catch Fire” in increments as her parents record them off AMC broadcasts for viewing the next day, “but I only to get watch my part,” she said, because the program airs in later evenings and it’s geared to more mature audiences.
Morgan said she likes the retro setting.
“I get to wear 1980s clothing,” she said, “and it’s pretty cool. It’s clothing from when my mom was young.”
With summer break just under way, Morgan said she’s excited about surfing lessons and she relishes rolling on her scooter, drawing, and “I like to play with my sisters.”
She also said she took part in filming this week for another project.
Her mother, an English instructor at St. James Middle School, said language arts remains Morgan’s favorite subject in the classroom.
“Who better to say that?” said Ownbey. “I’m an English teacher.”
A seventh-grade instructor , Ownbey said she has made teaching her profession for “about 14 years.”
Ownbey also said she sees differences in students’ confidence, with some willing to try new things without fear of embarrassment, and others more comfortable to “blend with the crowd.”
“Morgan is actually kind of shy,” Ownbey said, “but when she’s acting, she is a different person. It definitely shows me that children are capable of so much more than we give them credit for.”
The mom praised Morgan for never being nervous in acting pursuits and for being “able to handle the rejection that comes with it so much better than I ever would have expected.”
“It’s a good lesson,” Ownbey said. “It teaches her that she can work really hard for something and still not get it, and it’s OK.”