Morgan rubs elbows as 'Prairie Home' filmed
When "A Prairie Home Companion" debuts on the theater screen this week, watch for a cameo appearance by Park Rapids' own Rachel Morgan. Morgan, who is studying filmmaking at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, was a crew member during the ...
When "A Prairie Home Companion" debuts on the theater screen this week, watch for a cameo appearance by Park Rapids' own Rachel Morgan.
Morgan, who is studying filmmaking at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, was a crew member during the filming last summer at the Fitzgerald Theater, serenaded on her birthday by cast members Woody Harrelson, Kevin Kline and John C. Reilly.
Working as an "extras wrangler" she recruited people to fill the Fitzgerald Theater and served as a stagehand, gaining an invitation to the movie's "wrap up" party, its stars on the guest list.
It was at the party she approached film director Robert Altman for advice.
"Take no one's advice," he told her. "That will get you far in this world."
The comic backstage fable - "radio like you've never seen it before" - takes a look at what goes on during the last broadcast of America's celebrated radio show. The station's been sold; the building's slated for demolition.
The cast includes singin' cowpokes Dusty (Harrelson) and Lefty (Reilly), country music sirens Yolanda (Meryl Streep) and Rhonda (Lily Tomlin) and old Hollywood gumshoe Guy Noir (Kline). Tommy Lee Jones pops up as the hatchet man, dispatched by the radio station's new owner.
Radio gabber Garrison Keillor, she said, is "like a box of wonderful information."
"After 12 takes - or simply in passing - he always had something new and interesting to say...He's a wonderful, nice guy," she said.
Streep, she said, is a "talented, amazing woman" who told Morgan she's fond of Minnesota.
But Minnesota, Morgan said, is not financially amenable to filmmakers. She's hoping that will change.
"It was a great learning experience," she said of the month-long filming, from the end of June through July. "I learned a lot - compared to what I imagined I knew. It was awesome."
Keep an eye out for her "two-second" appearance in the last 20 minutes of the film, when The Guys All-Star Shoe Band is playing. (She inadvertently emulates her hero, film mogul Alfred Hitchcock, who was known for cameo appearances in his films.)
Morgan, who graduates in December, is currently filming a documentary on the increased consumer demand for organically-grown produce, interviewing area farmers. Her parents, Anne and Dewane Morgan, farm organically near Park Rapids and own the Secret Garden.