Saoirse Ronan stars in the immigrant drama which has already earned the actress Golden Globe and SAG award nominations for her leading role in the film. “Brooklyn” picked up awards at the Moet British Independent Film Awards. Saoirse Ronan won the New Hollywood Award at the Hollywood Film Awards. Brooklyn was also recognized at the Critics Choice Awards which were announced on Monday (December 14) in Los Angeles.
John Crowley’s “Brooklyn” was adapted from Colm Tóibín’s novel in a script by acclaimed writer Nick Hornby. The film is generating well deserved Oscar buzz for Saoirse and Hornby. Ronan was first recognized for her breakthrough role in Joe Wright’s 2007 adaptation of “Atonement.” Ronan has starred in Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones,” Wright’s action thriller “Hanna” and numerous other films including a small role in Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Saoirse made her stylish debut on the red carpet at the Academy Awards in an Alberta Ferreti dress. We are excited to see what she will wear during the awards season. Saoirse wore Calvin Klein and Lanvin to the British Academy Awards and the Hollywood Film Awards. The actress also donned Stella McCartney to the ‘Brooklyn’ LA premiere and Valentino to the NY Film Festival premiere.
The twenty-one-year old actress starred in two films which debuted earlier this year at the Sundance film festival. We spotted Andie Macdowell among the guests. KIA Supper Suite by STK also hosted the cast parties for Big Bang Theory actress Melissa Rauch’s film The Bronze. Vampire Diaries actor Steve McQueen was seen at the Echoes of Hope party. The cast of Tangerine and Animals was also excited that weekend to have earned buzz and great reviews for their film. Tangerine has become a critical Sundance darling earning a Gotham Award for the movie and Independent Spirit award nominations. Glassland cast member Toni Collette came from Australia via London to toast the premiere.
We spoke Saoirse about her breakout performances in Brooklyn and Stockholm, Pennsylvania. The afterparties were hosted at the Tinder Arts & Cinema center party which included Jennifer Connelly’s ALOFT.
What was your experience working on the film?
Saoirse Ronan: It was amazing. I think you can see from everyone’s reaction tonight that we are all very emotionally attached to it. It was a very emotional film. It was one that I couldn’t leave behind. And I have never had that before. Just because it is sort of my parent’s journey and something that I have gone through myself. So it was very raw for all of us. I think.
You’ve encompassed so many different characters. You have also accomplished a lot at such a young age earning an Academy award nomination. How do you approach each role whenever you are going to portray a character?
Saoirse Ronan: It’s usually quite simple. Emily who did costumes on Stockholm. It was very similar. Just really having that kind of dialogue with the director where you can clarify what it was that they wanted. Having a great script to work with…I think if you have a script that still needs work you need to spend more time developing the character. And really structuring who that person is. But I have been very lucky with most of the projects that I have done that I’ve had a really good, strong foundation to work off of. And I did with Brooklyn and with Stockholm…things like the Grand Budapest Hotel. When I was younger …
You say when you were younger…but you are still so young.
Saoirse Ronan: Yeah, well when I was a kid. I started when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I think I was very oblivious in a way to prep or anything like that. It still felt very instinctive to me in a way and so I really relied on that. I still try to work in that way when I can.
You mentioned Stockholm, Pennsylvania because you have two films in the festival this year. What was it like to work on that project too?
Saoirse Ronan: It was great. It was very different and a 19 day shoot. Emily is our costume designer. I’ve got Nicole, the director here. We all became really close in like 3 weeks. Because we spent all this time in one house. Our dressing rooms were the bedrooms of the house that we were in. I guess you kind of in film as well…when you are doing something creative you really adapt to the environment you are in. We all love to be as close to each other as possible. So that happened very quickly for us. And I’m still really good friends with a lot of the people involved. Especially, the girls Emily and Nicole. I think Stockholm kind of prepared me for Brooklyn. I did Brooklyn right afterwards and at that time in my life, only last year—to be able to have such a great communication with other women who were older than me . And just to be able to talk to them about what I’ve was going through in my own life and with work. To have that understanding with womanhood a little bit more. I think really helped me with Brooklyn. I was really lucky that it worked out the way it did.
Can you talk about your character in Brooklyn? You mentioned that it is a personal story. Can you explain the journey that the audience will go on? You mentioned that it is personal and a lot of people love Nick Hornby’s work. He has such a devout following with his fan base that if there are any narrative adaptations that deviate from the original work they get really upset.
Saoirse Ronan: They do.
So how was it for you to portray that character and remain true to the character and the original material?
Saoirse Ronan: I think that was a real testament to the talent of Nick. And how really special a writer that he is. He is incredible at his craft. He managed to understand the spirit of Ireland, the Irish people and that time so well for somebody who had not been a part of it. And who wouldn’t really know that much about it just from reading Colm’s novel. That is a testament to how wonderful and strong Colm’s novel was to how well Nick was able to perceive that story and that time. We were all kind of amazed by how well he captured it. I have read Irish scripts over the years, that have been written by Irish people where they just kind of fall into the stereotype a little bit.
So how would you describe the stereotype?
Saoirse Ronan: Well, you know us being very kind of one dimensional. And brushing everything off. They’re always living on a fecund farm. And it’s like there is this real superficial charm. It’s like the way you would sell Ireland to tourists. And I feel like we’ve seen this in film. We can’t do that anymore. We’re a very interesting nation. We’ve got a really rich culture. And we are a country of storytellers. That is how we survived. I think that’s how a lot of poor countries and countries that are overtaken by someone else are biased because they were stripped of their culture. And the only way they can get through that was to use their imagination. To be creative and that is something that we do very well. We really needed to have a stronger pedestal to showcase how natural it is for us to tell a good story. I just don’t think we have seen that very often. There are great directors like Lenny Abramson and obviously Jim Sheridan, Neil Jordan and people like that. But I really feel since Brooklyn and the reaction we got tonight, that we really need to make it our mission to keep going. And set our standards higher and higher.
You mentioned Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan. Jim Sheridan has done a lot of films on the experience. But he has also done personal films like…
Saoirse Ronan: ” In America”…
Yes, ‘In America’ is about the immigrant experience. Neil Jordan has done different characterizations of the experience. In the future, would you like to work with those directors?
Saoirse Ronan: Yeah, I’ve worked with Neil. I would love to do something with him again. Jim is one of my absolute favorites. It is my dream to work with Jim Sheridan. I’ve worked with him a little bit with workshops and things like that. The industry at home is really small. So we all know each other. We all really support each other. So we all know what the other one is doing and the other one is working on. Yeah, I’d love to do something with them again. Also, I would like to also encourage younger filmmakers at home to take chances in film and in theater. We need to take more risks. I think because ultimately, I think it pays off. And it will just set a different standard for the industry at home.
You’ve had such a lucrative career. And you started so young as you mentioned before…What was your experience after you had the Academy Award nomination? I know that you gained a lot more exposure. Did you feel that it was a lot more pressure on you ?
Saoirse Ronan: I kind of didn’t. I was too young to really let that seep in. Also I was working at the time and went from one film to the next. I didn’t really have time to let it personally affect me. I think to be honest, I felt more of a difference when ‘Hanna’ came out. Because that was…
You were the lead in that film?
Saoirse Ronan: Well, yeah and also so many people seemed to really love Hanna. And commercially it did quite well. It was interesting and I really felt a difference then, in exposure and things like that. I mean Atonement will always be a special part of the beginning of my career. I guess and my life really. That will always be close to my heart. But really Hanna made a big difference for me.
Saoirse told the L.A. Times that she is looking forward to hitting the awards showcircuit and attending the Golden Globe Awards. “I’m looking forward to Ricky Gervais [as host]. I’ve grown up watching him. I watched the promo the other day and it’s amazing.” Saoirse Ronan will be making her Broadway debut next year in “The Crucible”. The critically acclaimed film ‘Brooklyn’ is now playing in theaters.
Update: Brooklyn won for Best Actress at the New York Film Critics Awards and will be honored at the NYFCC annual dinner on Jan. 4, 2016.