Pawleys girl making mark on small screen

  • Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chris Sokoloski/South Strand News Waccamaw Elementary School student Morgan Hinkleman has a supporting role on AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire.”

In many ways, Morgan Hinkleman is a typical 9-year-old.

The rising fourth-grader at Waccamaw Elementary School loves watching Disney’s “Frozen,” and playing with her dolls and with her two younger sisters, Madison and McKenna.

However, unlike her classmates, Morgan is guest starring on her second prime-time television series.

She is currently being seen on AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire.” Two years ago she was on NBC’s “Revolution.”

Morgan was 5 when she told her parents she wanted to be an actress.

“I guess because I saw a bunch on TV, and I wondered what it would be like, to be like them,” she said.

Her parents, Jarrod and Stacy Ownbey, were supportive.

“She just loved being in front of the camera,” Stacy said. “She was pretty adamant with it, so I did a lot of research to try to find a reputable agency.”

Stacy contacted Coastal Talent Kids, which has since changed its name to East Coast Talent, and scheduled an audition.

“I kind of held my breath because I thought, I don’t know how she’s going to do in an audition,” Stacy said. “But she went in and she just loved it.”

The agency signed Morgan, and her first big break was “Revolution.”

“I thought, this is either going to make or break it,” Stacy said. “She’s either going to get on set and love it, or at the end of the day be like, ugh.”

Morgan loved it.

“She cried [and] didn’t want to leave that day,” Stacy said.

Morgan only appeared in a handful of “Revolution” episodes. She’s appeared in seven episodes of “Halt.”

“Halt” filmed in Atlanta from November to April, and the Ownbeys had to adjust their lives. Sometimes Morgan had to be there for a day or two, sometimes as long as a week.

“It definitely took a lot of adjusting and rearranging, but we worked out so either my husband, me, or my parents have gone with her the whole time,” Stacy said. “So we just sort of swap out and flip flop.”

“Halt” is set in the 1980s, and Morgan loves being an 80s kid.

“It’s fun,” she said. “When I was trying on wardrobe, my mom said ‘I think I wore that when I was young.’”

“It’s like a total flashback to my youth,” Stacy said. “They have toys that we played with, that are retro now. Walking on set you’re like, this is my childhood.”

The Ownbeys record “Halt,” and only let Morgan watch her parts.

Morgan said it’s “weird” to see herself on television.

“When you’re there, you see only like half,” she said. “On TV it looks like the real thing.”

It took a while for Stacy to get used to seeing her daughter on television.

“It’s kind of wild. It’s crazy,” Stacy said. “The first time I saw her on TV I kind of held my breath and I had to remember that she already did it. I shouldn’t be nervous.”

The younger Ownbeys were unimpressed.

“Look its Morgan on TV,” Stacy said she told them. “They were like, ‘yeah, yeah. Can you put Disney back on?’”

According to Stacy, a decision on whether “Halt” will be renewed for another season could come in August.

Meanwhile, Morgan has started surfing lessons and is getting ready for fourth grade.

Her favorite subject is writing.

“I like that you get to make things up,” she said. “It’s kind of like making up a movie. You just make up your own story.”

Whether “Halt” is renewed or not, Stacy said acting has been good for her oldest daughter.

“It’s kind of interesting to see how she handles it. I think it’s made her grow a whole lot,” Stacy said. “She handles it well. She handles the pressure well.”

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