Actress Originally Cast as Topanga on ‘Boy Meets World’ Was Told She ‘Wasn’t Pretty Enough’ at Age 12

"The director said that I couldn’t take direction, which was one thing I’d never been accused of."

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On the latest episode of the Boy Meets World-focused podcast Pod Meets World, former child actress Bonnie Morgan revealed she was originally cast in the Topanga Lawrence role, which eventually went to Danielle Fishel.

On the episode, Fishel and her co-hosts and fellow Boy Meets World stars Rider Strong and Will Friedle spoke to Morgan, who is an actor and contortionist. “I had three callbacks, they kept bringing me back,” she recalled. “Every time I’d audition we’d talk a lot… And every time I’d come, the script would change slightly, it seemed, to things that we had talked about.”

Morgabn suggested that the role seemed as though it was made for her, but there was a "power struggle" between show creator Michael Jacobs and others involved in its production. Jacobs "loved" her during the audition stage and Morgan was elated when she got the role at just 12 years old. "I didn't know that you could get fired," she added. "It was the weirdest day of my life. Even as a kid I was like: ‘What’s going on here?’ I came in and all the adults were very short with me."

Morgan explained that the table read for the pilot episode went well until the attention focused on her. Ben Savage, who played the lead character Cory Matthews, apparently tried to get her to break character during one rehearsal, much to the annoyance of episode director David Trainer. “At this point, I was becoming a nervous wreck,” she said. "I couldn’t get his name — the opening line, ‘Cory,’ I would guffaw ‘Cory’ and David was just like: ‘Get it together!’ I’m trying to pull it together and hold it together in sheer fear, and Ben kept doing this thing to crack me up and I was breaking and giggling.”

Morgan said tha Trainer got frustrated during a scene where she said the word "peace," which he told her to say "sweeter." When she did, he "got really close" and said she needed to say it like she was wishing someone a happy birthday. “I was so tiny at that moment and I just said OK, I will. And he goes: ‘Do it.’ And I said: ‘I thought you meant during the take,’ and he goes: ‘Do it now, wish me a happy birthday,’” she revealed. After that experience, she went home and found out she was fired the next day.

Morgan was left "shattered" by the news.

"The director said that I couldn’t take direction, which was one thing I’d never been accused of," she said of the feedback her agent told her. "My agent immediately fought back on that one. It came out very quickly to my agent that the director didn’t think I was pretty enough. Literally did not think I was pretty enough, so that meant that a grown man, a boss, could lie and tell me I was untalented because the fact was he didn’t think I was pretty.”

The hosts were shocked at the revelation. Morgan said she believes Trainer was the reason she didn't get the part and that he had it out for her the moment she walked through the door. "As viciously as I was treated by David, who was championing a different look that he cast… I understand that you had an equally terrible experience with my champion, Michael," she added, referring to when Fishel explained she was once reduced to tears by the show's creator.

Fishel said that the "power struggle" on set negatively impacted some of the kids. Morgan shared that she only ever watched one episode of the series when it aired because it was a difficult experience to witness what she missed out on.

"When I turned on the TV and saw literally Barbie, the prettiest girl, a literal model—you were literally on Barbie commercials, like, you and Barbie next to each other — it was like: ‘Oh my gosh, that’s who they got and it was not me,'" Morgan added. "So yes, of course, for a long time it was like: ‘She took it from me.'"

Despite the negative experience, she said that the role couldn't have gone to a "nicer person."

The revelation on the episode comes not long after Fishel recalled an executive telling her that he had her 18th birthday on his calender as if it were a day he was counting down to.

Listen to the full episode of the podcast below.


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