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Gryffin Morrison Enjoys The Ride Of A Lifetime Playing Michelle Payne’s Brother Stevie

ride like a girl, cast, premiere

Life presents us with opportunities in various forms, and in January 2018, our opportunity arrived on Facebook. A trusted friend sent a casting call for an 11-13 year old boy with Down syndrome… Gryffin had just turned 11, the stars aligned… And so began the ride of a lifetime. 

melbourne cup
Michelle and Stevie Payne holding the Melbourne Cup. Michelle won the 2015 Melbourne Cup, riding Prince of Penzance, and was the first female jockey to win the event.

The film Ride Like A Girl chronicles the amazing life of jockey Michelle Payne and her brother Stevie Payne – a professional strapper and now professional actor – and Gryffin’s newest role model; in the film, Gryffin plays Stevie in his pre-teen years. 

rachel griffith
Rachel Griffith, the director of the film Ride Like A Girl

I would have been thrilled if he’d landed a cameo on Play School… 

I would have been thrilled if he’d landed a cameo on Play School…

The two months it took from start of rehearsals to the end of filming were quite honestly a joy. Gryffin made life-long friends, was coached and encouraged by Australia’s best in the industry, shook hands and dabbed with Sam Neill…and he shone.

Learning all of his lines and the lines of others in his scenes, Gryffin delighted and blossomed in the opportunity to show the crew what he’s capable of… what kids with Down syndrome are capable of, when given the chance, without low ceilings or expectations of failure. 

Rachel Griffith gives a moving introduction to young actor Gryffin Morrison at an early screening of Ride Like A Girl.

As Sam Neill’s Paddy says to Teresa Palmer’s Michelle – “suddenly a gap will open, and that’s God talking to you….” When opportunity knocks, open the door. 

And opportunity is precisely what the Payne family has given to Stevie – life lessons in there for all of us, from a family of 10 kids, with a remarkable single dad who clearly didn’t have time to lower his expectations. Stevie had no choice but to do the same as his ambitious, high-achieving siblings. And what a stellar, high achiever Stevie is. 

Rachel Griffiths, ride like a girl, gryffin Morrison

Gryffin’s life has been an incredible ride for our whole family – he’s thrived when we were told he wouldn’t; he’s taken life by the throat and has taught us to keep our goals star high, whatever life throws our way. At 5 years old, Gryffin ran in the Melbourne Marathon to raise money for Grow Foundation, and he’s participated in this event every year since. 

This 12 year old has motivated countless other families to help their kids achieve their goals. Through their story, Stevie Payne and his remarkable sister do the same with their messages of hope and encouragement for the underdog, the outsider and for those of us who are just a little different…

Grow Foundation was established to empower Australian families to help their special needs kids to achieve their best. This month, Gryffin is on his way to Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney to host a series of screenings of Ride Like A Girl to raise funds and awareness through Grow Foundation.


BRISBANE: Saturday October 12th at Midday. Click here to book –

MELBOURNE : Wednesday October 16th at 6.30pm. Click here to book –

CANBERRA: Friday October 18th at 6pm. Click here to book –

SYDNEY: Sunday October 20th at 12pm Midday. Click here to book –

Tickets to all screenings are $25 each including snacks / treats and door prizes!

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