'Homeland' Star Morgan Saylor's So-Called Teenage Life

The young actress speaks with THR about balancing a normal high school life with starring on a hit drama.
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Surviving the halls of high school and the cracking the safe that is AP calculus is a harrowing, tall task. So is starring in a Golden Globe-winning drama. Doing both at the same time? Morgan Saylor would have every right to be sleepwalking on the red carpet at the New York premiere of Showtime's Homeland.

Instead, though, Saylor was all smiles on the USS Intrepid last Friday, where she spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about her hectic dual life, as a student and the on-screen daughter of Damian Lewis' secret terrorist character.

While she attends a regular public school -- she's a senior in high school -- filming the show eats into a significant portion of her day. That means on-set tutoring, which poses its own problems.

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"I started Aug. 1 -- which was way too early -- and I have a tutor and I have to do three hours on set every day," she sighed. "And a minimum of 20 minutes [at a time]. So often, in between set ups and scenes, I’ll run off to tutoring, and sit in a room and do AP Calculus for ten minutes, and then be whisked away, and it won’t even count."

That's made even more difficult when the stress of acting and schooling and socializing get her down.

"Sometimes when I have emotional days -- which there may be some of in this season -- on set I’ll purposely only read a book," she laughed. "And that can count as schooling if I take care of all my homework, and psych and forensics and lit homework, before I get to those days."

Even when she's at school, Homeland follows her.

"It was goofy in some ways, because in my very first scene in Homeland, it was me smoking a bong. And of course high schoolers love that," Saylor laughed. "But I’ve been in a class where someone said, ‘Let’s watch it!’ And I’ve sat with my head down while my entire class watched Homeland. But a lot of my friends don’t watch it. I don’t know why. As the DVDs have come out, more people have started to watch it. I go to a pretty small school, about 180 in my grade. But I know most people, so that’s good."

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So long as the show lasts (and don't expect it to be canceled any time soon), she won't be able to do a fall semester of college, though she may try to do spring classes once she graduates high school. And she wants to study abroad in Germany -- she gave up a scholarship to study there last year -- in deference to Homeland.

In the meantime, she has to keep some semblance of a normal, private life -- which means some new Facebook rules.

"Yeah, I do," she answered, when asked whether she's gotten an influx of Facebook requests. "And that’s annoying, but... I’ve actually deleted a lot of my friends to keep it a smaller group."

That may not last for long.