Sydney Morton and Jordan Dean star as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in the new Lifetime movie, Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace, which premieres on September 6. Ahead of the premiere, HollywoodLife chatted EXCLUSIVELY with Sydney and Jordan about tackling the complicated lives of Harry and Meghan, their decision to leave the royal family, and the global impact of that decision.
“For me, I would say it was very emotional,” Sydney told HollywoodLife. “I know that I had not spent that much time really thinking and internalizing their experience. I mean, again, it’s always been such news. It’s been headlines and kind of reduced to these talking points, so it was really surprising to feel the weight of it all, the emotional weight of it. It definitely gave me a new perspective and a perspective that I think most people don’t have just because you’re not taking the time to really sit there and internalize and think how would that feel to lose your mother the way that Harry did, to be an American, to be a woman of color marrying into the royal family under all that scrutiny. It’s something that most of us can’t fathom and don’t take the time to try. So that was a really surprisingly emotional thing to take on.”
Jordan added, “I felt this similar weight — if you will — when playing somebody who’s lived that life and had pretty much an unthinkable tragedy happen to him at a very young age and still dealing with the ripple effects from that as a man. As an actor, there’s a lot to mind from that. There’s a lot of notes on the piano, if you will, to play and I think these are people with enormous depths. And again, exploring that emotional depth for me was what was exciting, especially given that Harry, while we were filming, was speaking openly about his emotional journey. There’s so much research that you can do that’s really not helpful for me. But then while we were filming, he was speaking openly and frankly, about his experience. This is information that no one had heard before, so it was just more that I could take and try to interpret how that would affect me, Jordan, and then try to use it when I was working with Sydney.”
Before the Lifetime movie was filmed, Sydney and Jordan were quarantined for two weeks and that time allowed them to “really immerse ourselves in all things Harry and Meghan.” Sydney stressed that she really tried to understand Meghan’s “essence” and her “point of view because I think we both were going for less of an impression or personation and more of a very grounded portrayal of how they move through the world.”
Harry and Meghan shocked the world when they announced they were stepping back as senior royals in January 2020. They have since moved to Los Angeles and started a new life with their children, Archie and Lilibet. HollywoodLife asked Sydney and Jordan how they feel about Harry and Meghan’s decision after playing the couple in Escaping the Palace.
“I make an effort to not make other people’s families my business,” Sydney said. “It’s not my business. I trust that people are doing whatever they think is and feel is best for their family. I think that definitely applies here. I can’t imagine the pressure. I can’t imagine the experience that any of them have had, so I don’t think it’s a decision you make lightly. I feel that they did what they felt was best for them, so I can only say I respect it.
Jordan noted his “approach to this whole thing is not to judge them and, again, find the truth in the script that we were handed and use the text as sort of the guide in how we approached it. But again, I think not judging them, not having my opinion sway how I approach the character and just kind of keep that entirely separate.”