If there is one woman to watch out for in Hollywood, it is Saoirse Ronan. The Irish-American actress made her big screen debut in the Academy Award nominated film, “Atonement,” at the age of 12. The now 21-year-old actress has only built her filmography from there. Unlike her previous films, her upcoming film, “Brooklyn” marks her transition from child star to leading lady.
“What I’ve found more as I’ve gotten older – and I’m at personally kind of at this stage now in my life – [is that] it’s important for me to play someone who maturity-wise is at the same kind of place. It’s always important that they’re not just the crutch to somebody else’s character, that they’re interesting and well written and intelligently written,” Ronan said.
Ronan stars as Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant who comes to New York in the 1950s. Much like the immigrants of that time period, Lacey experiences a period of intense homesickness, which is quickly ended when she falls in love with an Italian-American named Tony.
Some actors may find it difficult to connect with the parts they are playing, but Ronan’s past helped her channel the attitude needed for this role. ”The real personal connection for me was the fact that my mom and dad had made that trip over from Ireland to New York and had gotten married in city hall just like Eilis and Tony did, and I was born there,” Ronan said.
Their romance is interrupted when Lacey’s past beckons her back to Ireland, where her family resides and a new man offer her a reason to stay there for good.
Not only did the film hit close to home for Ronan, the film actually brought her back home. Several scenes from the movie were shot in Enniscorthy, 25 minutes away from where she grew up in Carlow. Several extras were people who Ronan knew briefly in her childhood.
“To have a life that even I’m not part of anymore, that was very much my childhood colliding with work which had always been kept so separate when I was kid, was bizarre and amazing. . .It was great to be surrounded by really kind of Irish characters. This wasn’t imitated in any way. We were surrounded by the Irish spirit, so I think it really helped the film,” Ronan said.
No good movie is without a character epiphany. Viewers can witness Lacey evolve into a different woman than she was at the beginning of the movie.
“. . .The heart of this movie is that she [Lacey] gets on well in life . . . and she grows into this amazing young woman because the people around her have been kind to her and they’ve helped her and they’ve shared advice and wisdom and their experience,” said Ronan.
There is such a high level of praise for this movie that Ronan and fellow actress in the film, Julie Walters, are possible contenders for Academy Awards for their performances.
“Brooklyn” hits theaters in the U.S. on Nov. 6.