Catholic school graduate has role in pro-life film ‘Unplanned’

By Joseph P. Owens

WILMINGTON, Del. (CNS) — Maura Corsini, who graduated four years ago from a Catholic high school in Delaware, has landed a role in the upcoming film “Unplanned,” which tells the story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood administrator who converted to the pro-life movement.

In the movie, Corsini portrays Megan, Johnson’s co-worker and friend.

“I always had the idea that I just wanted to move to Los Angeles and start a career right away,” she told The Dialog, newspaper of the Wilmington Diocese.

After graduating from Archmere, a Catholic school founded by the Norbertine fathers in Claymont, she attended a conservatory program in New York and spent several months at an acting school there. In January 2015, she moved to Los Angeles without a job or an agent.

The opportunity to appear in “Unplanned” unfolded unconventionally. Corsini had been in touch with the movie’s producers, then lost contact until one of them was a customer in the restaurant where she worked.

She got an audition and was on the “Unplanned” set in Stillwater, Oklahoma, three months later.

Maura Corsini, a 2014 graduate of Archmere Academy in Claymont,, Del., has landed a role in a movie based on the book “Unplanned.” The movie details the story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood administrator who converted to the pro-life movement after up-close interaction with abortion. Corsini is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/Brandon Tabiolo, courtesy Maura Corsini)

Corsini’s character works at Planned Parenthood with Johnson. “We’re very, very close friends and I go on this journey with her. It’s me, her and this other girl, Taylor. Do we stay at Planned Parenthood or leave? We’re really the three who are trying to get out.”

She was told that she might develop a niche for acting in roles that help deliver a message in society, and that really appeals to her.

“I want to be an actress because I want to inspire people by large numbers. I want people to leave the theater thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, my life has been changed.'”

Details of the film’s rollout are still being developed, but it’s expected to open in select theaters. An article in The Hollywood Reporter said its release can be expected next year.

The film is guaranteed to draw attention from people on both sides of the abortion debate.

“We’re not condoning the extremist view on either side. We’re just trying to show you the truth. And that’s what this film does so beautifully. You can watch this film and find bits and pieces of truth,” she said.

Corsini likens the clash of social viewpoints to the current state of politics.

“It’s like both extremists don’t even acknowledge that there are extremists on each side,” she said. “People aren’t listening. They’re waiting to talk. It’s really important to look at life from all different perspectives, because if you don’t, you won’t really know what truth is.”

Corsini hopes this role springboards her into other projects.

“I’d love to eventually get a degree,” she said. “My dream would be to be a stable actress and have time to get a degree. But I’m learning a lot of different lessons … and a lot of that comes with acting. I feel like I’m learning in different ways, but a lot.”

As for professional work, she’s done some short films, two TV pilots that didn’t get picked up, and a play or two.

“This is first notable thing, which I’m thrilled about,” she said.

Her Catholic upbringing and strong belief in preserving life don’t always jibe with the majority viewpoint in the movie industry.

“The hardest thing about being an actress before you’re established is you’re constantly auditioning for things that you might hate, and you still have to give 110 percent to that audition,” she said. “That’s what I kept running into. ‘You have to wear this. You have to look this way. You have to be this weight and this height. Or else you can’t come to this audition.’ It’s all this pressure of trying not to sacrifice your morals for a job. And at the end of the day, it’s just a job.”

Cary Solomon, writer of the movie “God’s Not Dead” and one of the driving forces of “Unplanned,” has reminded Corsini about the social climate in California.

She said he warned her that Hollywood is “very, very pro-choice” and she should be “prepared for the backlash” for being in this type of movie.

The potential backlash is not a concern for Corsini, especially if she gets to pursue her dream while maintaining a level of morality.

As she put it: “If I get to do an acting job, and then also have it sit well morally with me — and know that I’m trying to inspire and trying to make the world a better place — there’s nothing more that I could ask for.”

Owens is editor of The Dialog, newspaper of of the Diocese of Wilmington.

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