109 resident puts personal touch on the big screen

A 109 resident is about to get her moment to shine in the spotlight. If it’s true that people will get 15 minutes of fame in their lifetime, then Ruth Morris is definitely getting her share.

Morris, a social worker specializing in limb loss, received a telephone call several months ago that opened a door she had never imagined. Just a few weeks later, she was being flown to a movie set to act alongside Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon in a film called “True Grit.”

“They needed someone with limb loss who could act as a stand-in for the main character,” Morris said. She was born without her left arm, which actually made her a perfect fit for the film, which is a remake of the 1969 film starring John Wayne.

“And they also made sure I fit the height and weight requirements.”  Morris was able to meet every standard, and for that she got the chance that millions only dream about. For just a little while, Ruth Morris was a movie star.

Morris said the directors wanted to have people from Texas in the movie since the filming location was in Austin. They began by calling Texas organizations and companies related to limb loss and heard about Morris during their search.

“There are only so many people in my situation that also fit every other requirement needed to stand-in for the actress,” Morris said. “They actually ended up seeking me out after they heard about me.”

Morris was excited as she talked about her experience on set with the other actors.

“You can even see moments of me in the trailer that is out right now,” Morris said.

“True Grit” is scheduled to open Dec. 22 in theaters. In May, Morris spent two weeks in Austin filming her scenes. She acts as a stand-in for Elizabeth Marvel, who plays the adult version of the main character, Mattie Ross.

“Everyone on the set was so nice and welcoming,” Morris said. “They treated me just like a real star, coming in to do my wardrobe and makeup.”

Morris said people watching the filming would even come up and ask for her autograph. She also had the chance to talk to actor Jeff Bridges and directors Ethan and Joel Coen.

“The Coen brothers have a reputation for being very polite and having family values,” Morris said. She was not surprised to find that they lived up to that reputation while on set.

“True Grit” is the story of a young girl who employs a U.S. Marshal to help her track down her father’s murderer. Morris was impressed with the story line of the film, and is excited to see the finished product on the big screen.

“I think it’s a film that will win a lot of awards.”

The experience was not only an exciting chance to act in a movie, but also to have a greater impact on the world.

“It’s amazing to be able to represent and support those people with limb loss, and it’s such an honor to have been a part of this experience,” Morris said.

Morris has recently decided to pursue her doctoral degree in psychology in San Antonio. She wants to be able to engage in more research in order to have an even larger impact on the world, but she won’t soon forget her experience with “True Grit.”

“This is definitely a story I will tell for years to come.”