#TIFF20: IN CONVERSATION WITH…. SAOIRSE RONAN
By Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
At just age 26, Saoirse Ronan has managed to become one of the top Actors of her generation. She got nominated for her first Academy Award at the age of 13 for her work in Atonement. Since then, she’s been nominated three more times.
Her talent is undeniable as seen through the unforgettable mix of characters she’s brought to life on-screen over multiple genres, such as survivor Hanna, homesick Eilis, uninhibited Lady Bird, and Writer Jo Marsh.
Her latest role has her starring as a grieving Charlotte in Francis Lee’s Ammonite. It follows Palaeontologist Mary Anning, played by Kate Winslet, who cares for Charlotte while her husband leaves for work. The two build an undeniable bond and fall in love.
Today, she joined Canadian Novelist Anne T. Donahue for TIFF’s In Conversation With… Saoirse Ronan.
On where home is to Ronan:
“It’s less of a physical location for me. I think that’s always been the case. I have tried to find it in a place or country, but now I’m older and I realize there are a few core people. That is my home.”.
On becoming an Actor:
“When we moved out to Ireland my dad was working on a film and they needed someone and I was added into it. I didn’t really want to do it. I was a quiet kid. It was this weird Art House film where I was half-human and half-clown. *laughs* And I said, ‘No, that sounds terrible. I don’t want to do that.’ But he wanted me to. So I did it. I was 6, 7, or 8. From the moment I got on set I really loved it. I really liked the discipline matched with the play aspect.”.
On when she knew she wanted to be an Actor:
“It wasn’t until I was 12. It was when I was doing Atonement. I loved that. And I knew that that’s what I wanted to do.”.
“I was a wreck. An absolute wreck. I was 20, so hormones were all over the place. I moved to London at that time. I did Brooklyn in the middle of that transition. And I went back to where I grew-up. I hadn’t been there in years. It represented a past time in my life that I will always be connected too, but was moving past. I think what made it overwhelming was that it was a severe meeting of two worlds. My home life, where I went to school and wasn’t an Actor. And this new stage in my career which was me starting to lead as a woman, and it was an Irish woman. I was just thinking, ‘I have to get this right.’ I was completely terrified. I never felt aware of the camera in a negative way or ever felt that it had paralyzed me. But I was feeling like that a lot in Brooklyn. But it ended up being such a special film for me to do. That Film gets to me in a way that nothing else I have done has. It was an honour to tell that story.”.
On Lady Bird:
“It’s not about her [Greta Gerwig] life. But she did grow up in Sacramento and she was in a theatre group. And I think we both wanted to be more like Lady Bird. But we were both more like rule followers. I didn’t mind being influenced by the way [Greta] was. But I couldn’t just carbon copy .
On her Activism:
“I don’t consider myself an Activist. I think it would be unfair for me to say that. We (Actors) are a mouthpiece for the people who actually know what they’re talking about. That’s how I’ve always felt about. I’ve met a lot of people who support incredible causes and are passionate and hardworking about it. And I’m kind of like everyone else asking, ‘What can I do? What do you need me to do to spread that message further?’ I think there are a lot of people who do far more than I do.”.
On Timothée Chalamet:
“[In Lady Bird] we only had a few scenes together. I always knew he was special and magnetic. We are very different people and in our approaches to work. I remember we were on the way to set and were talking about our families and normal stuff. We always felt very comfortable with each other. He’s American and European as well. We sort of were able to tap into that. On Little Women, that’s where it felt more like a collaboration. We had these lengthy scenes where we would ebb and flow performance-wise. He’s someone I want to continue to work with.”.
“I think it’s a luck of the draw whether you get to work with someone who you click with. Kate and I had met and just got on straight away. I think a big part of that is her because she is friendly and open. One of the good things about the junkets and awards season is getting to meet a lot of wonderful people in the mix of the madness. So, I met her a couple of times doing that stuff. And then this came around and she was a real supporter for me doing it. We were just really lucky we got on straight away. Two women getting to come together, and with more of the intimate scenes and being able to choreograph the love scenes ourselves was great. Especially with Kate.”.
On taking on so many roles:
“I don’t work as much as other people. I’m at a place at the minute where I don’t need to run into a job just to work. I think because I’ve been doing it for 16 years or more now. It’s very important that I don’t burn out or kind of lose the love for it. It’s important for me to protect the bond with my work that I have.”.
Our Review for AMMONITE can be found here.
(Photo credit: TIFF)