Epsom resident to play a young Sir Edmund Hillary in new series drama

Morgan Baxter as a young Sir Edmund Hillary.
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Morgan Baxter as a young Sir Edmund Hillary.

Morgan Baxter's first ever on-screen audition landed him a role as a young Sir Edmund Hillary.

The Epsom resident will appear in the TV One drama Hillary which premieres on Sunday night.

But until this role the 13-year-old had only ever acted in school plays.

Morgan Baxter, 13, has landed his first television gig playing one of New Zealand's most famous sons.
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Morgan Baxter, 13, has landed his first television gig playing one of New Zealand's most famous sons.

The King's College student says he went to the audition with zero expectations, which appears to have worked in his favour.

"I didn't really feel nervous because I just thought I wasn't going to get it, I thought I was going in for the experience. And then they said 'you've been shortlisted'," Morgan says.

"I was really really surprised because I just thought it was for fun."

Morgan's mother Vanessa says by "default" he was very humble about the audition.

"To be honest we were the same as him and we didn't want him to be disappointed, it was his first audition."

After the audition the family were certain it would be the end of it - they even had overseas travel plans which had been made over the last few years for when it was set to be filmed.

"It came out of the left side for all of us," Vanessa says.

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Morgan's role focuses on Sir Ed's time as a student at Auckland Grammar School.

The show's director told Morgan he got the role because he was able to listen and take direction without taking offence. 

"He was a really funny guy."

Morgan had instant rapport with the director, Vanessa says. 

"He expected a lot from the kids and he definitely had high exceptions of all the children actors. He didn't want to waste time but he was really cool with them and put them at ease really quickly."

One of the more bizzare scenes for Morgan was when he played Sir Ed sitting alone at lunch time. 

"I was eating a honey sandwich and some my only friends were ants because he [Sir Ed] went into Auckland Grammar two years early...so I had to feed ants with honey and they ran out of ants and they hired this one guy to collect ants from around the school."

In another scene Ed gets a caning from his father, thankfully with padding in his costume. 

Hillary screens this Sunday August 21 on TV One and TVNZ OnDemand. 

 - Stuff

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