The Thirteenth Tale

A haunting psychological mystery on BBC Two

Interview with Antonia Clarke

Christopher has written the characters so well, they’re all so rich, diverse and complex and they all have such an incredible journeys. I think the audience will be captivated by those performances and the characters."Antonia Clarke
Category: BBC Two; Drama

What is the film about and who do you play?

The film is predominantly the story of Vida Winter, the famous novelist, and her childhood growing up in Angelfield House. The story examines family tragedy but also has a ghostly twist; it’s about twins who are so consumed with one another that ultimately the relationship becomes very destructive.

I play (teenage) Emmeline March who is the simpler of the two. She’s very affectionate and the complete polar opposite of Adeline, who has a clouded intelligence and is quite dark, whereas Emmeline’s quite adorable and affectionate.

Was it a challenge playing a twin?

It was always going to be difficult to make Sophie and I look exactly the same, but we get on really well so it was quite easy to have that dynamic of closeness I think. There were some really fun scenes; I remember the very first scene we did when the twins were playing badminton, and that was great as you really saw the two characters coming out. Emmeline is flailing and skittish whereas Aveline is determined and even a bit blood thirsty in badminton!  

There’s an impressive cast attached to the film…

Although I haven’t got scenes with Olivia, we’ve been shooting at the same time so I’ve seen her quite a lot. She’s amazing and the loveliest person, and listening to her stories has really helped me learn. Obviously, Sophie and I have a lot of scenes together.  Luckily we get on really well - I love spending time with her so that really helped with the twin dynamic. 

How was your experience of working with James Kent?

James is such an amazing director and he’s very sensitive. If you have direction, he’ll come up to you and speak to you personally. He has such an eye for detail, the shots are beautiful.

Do you enjoy ghostly tales?

There is an element of fun in scaring yourself.  I remember seeing the Woman In Black on stage and that freaked me out for life! I can now never sleep with a dressing gown on the back of the door - even though I watched it three years ago, it still haunts me. 

The film seems to have diverse appeal

Obviously there’s the ghostly element, especially as it’s disguised and you’re not going to get freaked out when you’re watching it. It also has such a great range of characters; Christopher has written the characters so well, they’re all so rich, diverse and complex and they all have such an incredible journeys. I think the audience will be captivated by those performances and the characters.