Welcome to Saoirse Ronan Web. This is your best source dedicated to the talented Irish actress Saoirse Ronan. You may know her from her Oscar nominated role in "Atonement", "Hanna" or "The Lovely Bones" and more recently in "The Host", "How I Live Now" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel". We aim to provide you with the most comprehensive content on Saoirse and give you the latest news. Here you can find and learn (hopefully) everything on her including the latest news and high quality photos, in depth information, media streaming, fan features and more.
05 December 2009 : Irish Times

A teenager happy to act up

Playing the controversial and challenging lead role in new movie ‘The Lovely Bones’, Saoirse Ronan’s star is truly on the rise, writes ROSITA BOLAND

SAOIRSE RONAN can’t remember the first time she met Brad Pitt. Or the second, or third. That would be because actress Ronan was an infant at the time. Her actor father, Paul Ronan, was working on The Devil’s Own, which starred Pitt and Harrison Ford. Daddy Ronan often brought his baby daughter on the set with him, and she was cooed over by all the cast, including Pitt.

The Devil’s Own , the film she watched being made from a stroller, appeared in 1997, when Ronan was three. A mere decade later, she had given an Oscar-nominated performance as Best Supporting Actress, in Atonement . Whether you put it down to genes, learning by osmosis through frequently being on set with her father, or simply being innately gifted, it doesn’t matter. What’s obvious is that Ronan is outstandingly talented.

Her latest film, The Lovely Bones , an adaptation of the best-selling book by Alice Sebold and directed by Peter Jackson, goes on general release next month. It had a royal premiere in Leicester Square late last month. Ronan plays 14-year-old Susie Salmon, a controversial and challenging part as her character is dead for most of the movie, having been raped and murdered. Although the film itself is getting mixed reviews, Ronan’s performance is already generating discussion of another Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actress. She has had her own fan website for years. And she’s still 15.

An only child, Ronan was born in 1994, in New York City, where she lived until she was three. Despite this, Ronan describes herself as “100 per cent Irish”. Her parents, Monica and Paul, emigrated to the US during the 1980s to escape the recession. After 13 years in New York, they moved back to the small village of Ardattin, Co Carlow, where Ronan was one of 59 pupils at the local primary, three-teacher school. One of her childhood pastimes was inventing dramas and stories for her Polly Pocket dolls.

She told the Daily Telegraph : “I used to play with my dolls and give them different accents. My Polly Pockets would have affairs with each other – things that probably a seven-year-old shouldn’t have them doing.”

To Hot Press , she related, “It was kind of like a soap opera. They used to have affairs with different Polly Pockets and then they’d have babies with other Polly Pockets.” She also had some male dolls, including Woody from Toy Story. “So they all had boyfriends and they used to have like American accents, so that’s kind of where the accents came from.”

Ronan was referring to her later uncanny facility as an actress to imitate accents perfectly. As Briony in Atonement , for example, she has an upper-class, clipped British accent; and her American accents are also flawless and utterly convincing. Her normal accent is unmistakably country Irish. Even the most skilled and experienced actors frequently have trouble successfully “getting” accents – as Brad Pitt proved in The Devil’s Own .

When she was eight, Ronan auditioned for a part in The Clinic . She got the role of Rhiannon Geraghty, sister of Keelin, one of the show’s main characters. A year later, she played Orla Boland in Proof 2 . By then, she was on the radar of ever-watchful casting agents and has worked continuously with A-list stars since, to consistently rave reviews.

In the expensive and slow-moving world of film, it often happens that they all appear at once. In 2007, three films that Ronan appeared in were released: the romantic comedy, I Could Never Be Your Woman , where Ronan played Michelle Pfeiffer’s daughter; The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey , and Atonement , directed by Joe Wright.

It was Atonement that made Ronan’s name, where she played the part of an intense and unlikable child who meddles in her sister’s love affair, with disastrous results. As Briony, she was eerily compelling, taking ownership of every scene in which she appeared, most notably the electrifying “confession” scene where she lies while giving a statement.

The New York Times called her “remarkably poised”; “the best thing here is the confident and gripping performance by Ronan,” praised the Sunday Times ; “a terrific turn from Saoirse Ronan,” Time Out declared. Ronan subsequently received Atonement ’s sole acting Oscar nomination, above the film’s stars, Keira Knightley and James McEvoy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Knightley was quoted as saying, “I take advice from Saoirse; I wouldn’t dream of giving it to her”.

Ronan walked the red carpet with her parents in an emerald green Alberta Feretti dress, a colour she purposely chose to signal her nationality. She didn’t win, but it didn’t matter: Ardattin National School’s most famous pupil had arrived in Hollywood.

After the Oscar nomination – and several others including a Golden Globe nomination – talent agencies publicly competed to sign her. Ronan eventually signed with the Creative Artists Agency, usually known as CAA, whose headquarters at Los Angeles is located at the punchy address of “Avenue of the Stars”. Routinely cited as the world’s most powerful entertainment and sports agency, among those represented by CAA are Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and basketball player LeBron James. She is now thought to be earning six-figure sums per movie.

Ronan’s Irish name has proved to be a tongue-twister for virtually everyone outside of Ireland who interviews her. Television stations provide its interviewers with a phonetic version of her name. Newspapers offer readers the same. USA Today calls her “Seer-shan”; Vanity Fair has her as “Sir-shan”; and the Daily Telegraph as “Sur-shuh”. Wikipedia goes for “Seer-shuh”. None of them is correct, a fact she has said “irritates the hell” out of her.

While filming City of Ember with Bill Murray in 2007, Ronan was told she had been given the key part of Susie Salmon, in The Lovely Bones . More than that, she discovered Steven Spielberg (the film is a DreamWorks production) and director Peter Jackson specifically wanted her in the role. Also due to star were Oscar winners Susan Sarandon and Rachel Weisz. She couldn’t tell anyone, though, for a fortnight, which is a very big secret to keep under your hat when you’re 14.

Her mother Monica travels everywhere with her, and the family rent houses on location instead of staying in hotels, in order to keep the surroundings as homely as possible. Ronan is enrolled in Kilkenny College, but while she is on location, she has a tutor on set. For The Lovely Bones , shooting took place in the US and New Zealand.

She loves her dog, Sassy, and when at school, she plays basketball, GAA and soccer. If she wasn’t acting, she has said she’d like to try writing or painting. But it’s acting where her future surely lies. “It’s not work, it’s more of a passion. It is so much fun,” she has said. “Acting is one of those things that I can’t really describe – it’s just like, why do you love your mum and dad? You know, you just do.”


Who is she? Ireland’s hottest rising actor

Age : 15

Why she’s in the news: She’s starring in Peter Jackson’s new movie, The Lovely Bones , which has just premiered in London and goes on general release next month

Least likely to say : “I’m not sure what I’ll be when I grow up”

Most likely to say : “That’s not how you pronounce my name”

© Irish Times