Ric Morgan never imagined he would become an actor. He had dabbled in acting in his middle school days, but, in his "previous life," as he calls it, he focused on public safety. Morgan worked in law enforcement, most notably as a bomb technician.
"You wouldn't think that art and paramilitary law enforcement would jive," he said. "They seem to be on opposite sides of the spectrum."
However, both professions have something unlikely in common: they allow Morgan to make a difference. He began acting in 2011 with the goal of creating art that is "socially relevant and redeeming, which changes attitudes and raises awareness," he said.
His upcoming independent film Imago seeks to do just that. The movie is currently being filmed, mostly in and around Chicago, and focuses on a theme very important to many, including the Chicago LGBT community: sex trafficking.
"Socially responsible films like Imago will hopefully help change some perceptions," Morgan said.
Imago follows the story of a Black woman named Keisha. "Really the only good thing in her life was her relationship with her grandmother," Morgan said.
After her grandmother's passing, Keisha inherits her home in the country. Keisha was unsure of what to do with the new property until one day, she looks out the window and sees a cocoon.
"She thinks she sees it move, so she waits and watches and waits and watches," Morgan said. "What comes out sure doesn't look like a butterfly. It's covered in slime and looks all snotty. She watches it dry, unfurl its wings and fly away. That's when she knew what to do with her grandmother's house."
Keisha turns the home into a safe house for women who are rescued from sex trafficking and names it Imago, the word for the last stage of metamorphosis before a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
Morgan said he hopes this film can be the one small act that will make a difference in the world.
"I truly believe in the butterfly effect," he said. "You can influence culture with art."
Imago will be out in 2018.