Morgan Davies shares the journey that brought him to ‘The End’

Foxtel’s new series The End has been praised for its multilayered storytelling and diverse cast of characters.

In the series Frances O’Connor plays Dr Kate Brennan, a doctor specialising in palliative care, and she’s passionate in her opposition to euthanasia. Kate’s got a lot going on in her life, her business-man husband is in prison, and she’s just moved her depressed mother into a retirement village, while one of her children is working their way through the process of gender transition.

When Morgan Davies was first offered the part of transgender teen Oberon Brennan in the series The End he turned it down.

The nineteen-year-old has an impressive list of credits having appeared in the feature films The Tree, Storm Boy and The Hunter, alongside a variety of television shows including Terra Nova, Devil’s Playground, and The Girlfriend Experience. 

Taking on the demanding role of a teenager navigating gender dysphoria has coincided with Morgan’s own journey.

“I originally came out to myself, and my mother, and other people such as my agent Katherine, as transgender when I was thirteen. So quite young.” he shared.

“When I first came out I quit acting for a bit, because not only were there no roles for trans people at the time, but I was so uncomfortable with myself about how I looked, how I presented, and how I looked on screen, and how people perceived me.”

As time went on the teenager found it difficult to negotiate the challenges of having gender incongruence.

“I wouldn’t say I ‘un-came-out’, but due to a couple of factors, I was finding life really hard at the time, I found it hard to be trans, I was at school and I wasn’t comfortable sharing it, I didn’t want to deal with it, I able to act at the time.”

“I wouldn’t say I de-transitioned, because I’ve always been trans in my heart, but I started taking female roles again, it kind of showed me where the industry was at the time, because I started getting roles as soon as I stopped identifying as trans.”

Returning to acting after a break saw Morgan cast in a variety of high profile projects playing female roles, and when the script for The End arrived Morgan’s agent, knowing he still struggled with gender, thought it would be the perfect role, but Morgan turned it down.

“I thought ‘No, I don’t want to think about it.’ I was angry with her for sending it, but I knew it was something I was going to have to tackle soon, and I was already thinking about how I would go about that, I knew I was not living my authentic life.”

After some time passed Morgan decided it was time to tackle the challenge of gender identity saying he realised he could not keep on going forever ignoring how he was feeling.

“I knew I was going to have to come out, and that was really fucking scary. I was thinking about it for a few moths, and it’s a really hard thing to go through.” Morgan said.

When Morgan did decide to come out, the role of Oberon was still available, but the young actor was still unsure about signing up for the part.

“I knew that if I took the role, not only would I have to come out to myself, but also all my friends, I was still in High School, I knew playing a trans character I’d have to come out to everyone, it was so scary and daunting to me.”

Morgan jumped into the audition process, joining the final round of try-outs for the part, and he says when he got the part he was “so over the moon”.

“I came out that day, to everyone, and while I was terrified, it ended up being not as scary as I thought it was.”

Morgan said he found a lot of joy in brining Oberon to life.

“I really like that he’s a three dimensional character, he has love interests, he hates his family, but he gets on with them at times, and he just also happens to be pursuing medical transition at the time, he’s rightfully angry, and pissed off at everyone, and he definitely feels that everyone is against him, but ultimately he has a good heart.”

Acting against well known stars including Dame Harriet Walter, Noni Hazelhurst, John Waters and Frances O’Connor didn’t faze the young actor.

“I’ve been lucky and appeared alongside some legendary names since I started acting when I was seven. The first film I did was with Charlotte Gainsbourg, and then I worked with Willem Defoe, Sam Neill and Frances O’Connor – who now plays my mother in The End.

“This time though it was a bit different, I was a little bit older so I was able to grasp how insane it was to be working with such talented people.” Morgan said.

Looking to the future Morgan hopes more roles for trans actors will be available.

“I hope to play more authentic trans characters in Australian film and media. I don’t think we have enough fully fledged, three dimensional trans characters right now and actual real trans stories. I want to show Australia what trans people have to say.”

The actor says increasing trans roles is not just important for trans people who need to see themselves on screens, but also for the wider population.

“People to to see trans people and see that we’re not so bizarre, and we’re not so far out, we do have authentic real stories and we do find love, and we’re just like them.” Morgan said. “But I also want to play characters who are not trans, I don’t want my career to revolve around my transness.”

The End is screening 8:30pm Tuesdays on FOX Showcase, or watch the entire series on demand.

Graeme Watson, series images by Mark Taylor

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