Fatima, based on historical events, centers on a 10-year-old shepherd named Lucia (Stephanie Gil) who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal. Her younger cousins Jacinta (Alejandra Howard) and Francisco (Jorge Lamelas) also see Mary, and the trio’s visions inspire thousands of believers. Goran Visnjic talked to us about his role in the feature and elaborated on why he believes Fatima is a universal story.
Goran Visnjic stars in Fatima as Arturo, an official who forces the children to recant their story. Though he has the authority, Arturo can’t control the overwhelming response to these events. Marco Pontecorvo, who initially cut his teeth in the business as a cinematographer (he lensed the overlooked 2010 romcom Letters to Juliet), directed the feature.
“I really liked working with (Marco),” said Visnjic. “He comes from the DOP (director of photography) department and you would imagine he was going to stay there. But no, he was very into the performance and in my specific case Arturo is kind of like a big character. Tall guy with a mustache and hat. He’s closing the church and he’s barging in and things like that. So there’s a danger in overacting and making him like a mustache twirling bad guy and Marco said ‘Keep it small, we don’t want him to become a cartoonish character. We want to show him as a real guy.’”
Though Fatima has a direct appeal to Catholics and followers of Jesus Christ, the feature should appeal to a broader movie loving audience.
“If you distilled the message that the kids received from the Virgin Mary, you don’t need to question the source,” added Visnjic. “You just question the message. And the message is pure. The message is you need to love each other and you need to pray more. It didn’t even say which religion you need to pray more. It’s a meditation. It’s a positive thing. It’s a message of love and tolerance. In our society unfortunately, it is needed. We always need more encouragement to become better people.”
Fatima, co-starring Harvey Keitel and Sonia Braga, arrives in theaters and On Demand August 28.