Thursday, October 20, 2011

Saoirse Ronan: Trusting Her Killer Instincts

Impact: Played the titular teen assassin in "Hanna"; trekked across India as a Polish orphan in Peter Weir's "The Way Back."

Next: Prepping to play a vampire in Neil Jordan's "Byzantium."

Causes: Ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children; supports animal welfare group, Irish Blue Cross.

At age 17, Saoirse Ronan has already worked with Peter Jackson, Peter Weir and Joe Wright. For her pivotal role as the younger sister in the celebrated period epic "Atonement," Ronan found herself an Oscar and Golden Globe nominee -- and you get the feeling that it's all just a warm-up act for this young Irish actress.

"It's been a little bit of luck that these projects have come along and great directors have been attached to them," Ronan says. "If you're a fan of their work, you can have confidence that you might be part of something special."

The logline for Ronan's latest movie, "Violet & Daisy," may sound an awful lot like "Hanna," and yet this dark comedy, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, takes a very different approach to the concept of an underage assassin. Next, Ronan will join the teen vampire phenomenon, playing a bloodsucker in Neil Jordan's horror story "Byzantium." "There's a bit of romance, but it's definitely not 'Twilight,'" she says.

Not that Ronan has anything against "Twilight" or its creator, Stephenie Meyer. In fact, after finishing "Byzantium," she'll segue straight to "The Host," also written by "Twilight's" Meyer, playing a strong-willed Earth girl in the sci-fi romance. Andrew Niccol will direct, adding to Ronan's list of celebrated collaborators.

For career advice, Ronan looks to her actor father, Paul, a man with a keen eye for good material.

"It's handy to have him, that's for sure," Ronan says. "If I don't feel passionate about something, then obviously I won't do it. But I treasure his opinion."


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