Ignatius Insight: What is your background in acting, theater, and film?
Kelley Costigan: I have always been interested in acting from the time I was a small child and used to pretend to be other people. I had a vivid imagination and even wrote plays to be performed in our backyard. I went on to perform in plays at school, where my first role was as a comet in a play about the Solar System. The first moment I ran out on stage and made the audience laugh hooked me forever.
I went on to attend a vocational High School (Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick, New York) and then received a BFA in Acting from Hofstra University in New York. After attending a summer programme in Oxford, where I was taught by hard working actors and directors from the British stage and screen, I knew that I belonged in England where some of my ancestors came from--I felt right at home. After a few years of Rep in the States and a stint at the Mint Theatre, NYC, I had the chance of returning to England to study for a postgraduate degree in Shakespeare Studies. I've never left.
While doing my course, and then writing my MPhil (Masters degree by thesis), I worked as an extra in films (including Shakespeare In Love, Sleepy Hollow, and Chocolat among others) and on the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Company as a Supernumary (crowd scenes), which was exciting and very educational. Once I had completed my degree, I began to go back to work in theatre, film and television, which brings me to The 13th Day and beyond.
Ignatius Insight: How did you first hear about and become involved with the filming of The 13th Day?
Kelley Costigan: I was phoned by Natasha Howes, the Producer, who had seen my photograph and CV on a casting website. The Directors, Ian and Dominic Higgins, liked my face and wondered whether I would be interested in taking on the smaller role of the mother of the two younger children (Francisco and Jacinta). They said it was a much harder role as she said so very little, but was very expressive and had a simple, compelling belief in the children. That attracted me to the project.
Ignatius Insight: When and where was The 13th Day filmed? How long did it take to film?
Kelley Costigan: We filmed in April of 2006 in a converted barn just outside of Earlswood, Birmingham in the UK. We filmed on and off for a few weeks as I remember.
Ignatius Insight: The film has been praised for its striking cinematography and "look". What was unique about acting in it? What was it like playing Mrs. Marto?
Kelley Costigan: There was a great deal of special effects in the film, ranging from model work (the WWI trenches) to CGI and green screen work. What was unique for me, perhaps, was working in front of the green screen so that they could put in the effects of being in Fatima with the large crowds there. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go to film in Fatima--not everyone did--so that was the best way of achieving that.
Mrs Marto was the mother of the two younger children--Francisco and Jacinta--and was a very quiet, soulful presence. She firmly believed in what her children said they saw and her faith was not at all in question, as was that of her sister-in-law, Mrs Santo, who fretted about what Lucia said happened. I found playing Mrs Marto restful as she was so very sure of what was happening and didn't question what the children said - she was very firm in her beliefs.
Ignatius Insight: How did your involvement in the film change or deepen your understanding of Fatima?
Kelley Costigan: I remember the story from when I was a child--that of deep faith which is available to all if their hears are truly open. That has stuck with me and it is a truly remarkable story.
• To find out more about The 13th Day, go to www.the13thdaymovie.com, which includes detailed information about the movie, free downloads, and the story of Fatima. Also visit the movie's FaceBook page.