Morgan Dudley Teases New ‘Horizons’ In ‘Descendants’ Spinoff & The ‘Honor’ Of Playing Young Cinderella (Exclusive) 

Morgan Dudley opens up about her life-changing experience filming 'A Tourist's Guide To Love' and how honored she feels joining the 'Descendants' franchise.

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Morgan Dudley
View gallery
Image Credit: Francis Hills

Morgan Dudley is a rising Hollywood star, and she made an incredible first impression in the Netflix movie A Tourist’s Guide To Love. For Morgan, the experience of filming the heartfelt movie was one that she’ll never forget. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the actress about traveling to Vietnam for the film.

“The experience filming A Tourist’s Guide To Love was so unique. I don’t think that anything could ever recreate it because we got to travel with our characters,” Morgan said. “Most of the filming was in order, so we really got to live through who we were playing and kind of discover the minds of our characters, while also discovering just ourselves as we traveled through the beautiful country that was Vietnam. Filming it was amazing. It’s an amazing movie just about self-discovery and letting go of control when in new places.”

Morgan Dudley
Morgan Dudley and Andrew Barth Feldman in ‘A Tourist’s Guide To Love.’ (Netflix)

Prior to filming, Morgan had never been to Vietnam. “Actually, it was my first time leaving the country ever. I was low-key nervous,” she admitted. The actress was initially “really scared” because she once had a “fear of flying.” Once she landed in Vietnam, she fell in love with the country.

Morgan starred alongside Rachael Leigh Cook and Andrew Barth Feldman in the Netflix film. She noted that the cast was “very close-knit” during production. “We were together 24/7 basically the entire time that we were filming. Rachael Leigh Cook, I met her on the first day that I got there and she is just such a light of a person. She’s so beautiful. I had never seen She’s All That or Josie and the Pussycat Dolls, which I know are like the breakout Rachael Leigh Cook movies, but my mom had and my mom was so excited. I actually ended up watching She’s All That later on an airplane.”

She continued, “It felt like such a family. I know that sounds really cliche, but we were together all the time. We kind of all slipped into our own sort of dynamic.”

Through her journey filming A Tourist’s Guide To Love, Morgan told HollywoodLife that she learned the “importance of having some sort of grounding force when you’re filming. When you’re filming in general, but especially so far away from home. So, for me, it was journaling. Luckily, we were somewhere as beautiful as Vietnam where I could just walk outside into the nice weather and just journal and be with myself. Because when you’re filming, and when you’re giving yourself away to a different character, and you’re living through the lens of something else, if you don’t kind of have a moment to pull out of that and have a moment to be yourself again, it can cause stress. It could cause homesickness. It could cause a sense of identity loss. It definitely is what I consider must first actual role, as far as TV and film is concerned, and it taught me a lot about how to ground myself.”

In addition to A Tourist’s Guide To Love, Morgan will also be starring as young Ella in the upcoming Disney+ film Descendants: The Rise of Red. Morgan plays a young version of Brandy’s Cinderella.

“I honestly was quite floored,” Morgan said about her reaction to getting the part. “The audition process for this specific project, as you can imagine, was quite long because the Descendants franchise is precious. Everyone knows that. To have gone through the lengthy process and come out the other side, and not only am I playing a young Cinderella with Cinderella being such an iconic Disney character, but it being Miss Brandy herself and Paolo Montalban coming back and reprising the role like the whole thing is happening over again. I loved Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella so much. It’s kind of indescribable.”

Morgan Dudley
Morgan Dudley plays a younger version of Brandy’s Cinderella in the upcoming ‘Descendants’ spinoff. (Photographer: Francis Hills)

During production, Morgan got the opportunity to meet Brandy. “First of all, she has such a calming presence about her. She’s very, very calm. She’s very kind. She’s very sweet. Very down to earth. Very Brandy. Very overwhelmingly Brandy,” she said.

The 1997 TV movie was a game-changer. Brandy became the first Black actress to play the role of Cinderella onscreen. Morgan opened up about being incorporated into that legacy in Descendants: The Rise of Red.

“It feels like an honor. Honestly, it feels like I have huge shoes to fill, and I wouldn’t even consider me filling them. It’s more so I just get to kind of join in on it,” Morgan said. “It’s cool because I watched it too. I remember being a young girl and seeing that and being like, wow, I can be a princess too. It’s just cool that I get to kind of continue that along and, in some sort of way, be a participant in introducing all these young kids to that Cinderella, to Brandy’s Cinderella, and now to my young Ella.”

The new Descendants film is a new chapter for the beloved Disney franchise. “I think people are really going to love the horizons that it brings because we’re also introducing Wonderland. That’s an entirely new world that we’re kind of bringing into the Descendants franchise. I wish I could say more. It’s just amazing,” Morgan said.