Street spoke with the 16–year–old star of Hanna about playing an action hero.
Street: What was it that attracted you to this role?
Saoirse Ronan: I always like to do something different and more challenging. Also, I got to do a lot of physical activity. I had never gotten to do anything like that before in a movie, and I’ve always been quite an athletic person. So I thought it would be fun and it would be tough work, but really good preparation to train and learn fight choreography and things like that. And it does make you really focused when you have those kinds of pieces to learn.
Street: How did working on this film with Joe Wright differ from your work with him on Atonement?
SR: We had a great experience together when we worked on Atonement, and we had always had a really great working relationship. Joe never treated me like I was a kid even when I was 12 years old, and he certainly didn’t when we did Hanna together. I could see in myself that I had grown as an actor, and I had worked on quite a few films in between Atonement and Hanna. And I think he could see that too. I guess it left us with more creative freedom.
Street: This seemed like a really challenging role, with lots of questions about existence and humanity. How did you deal with these queries?
SR: I guess it’s all down to imagination and the being of a person. I found it was a bit tricky at first, and it was quite important to basically wipe my own personal memory of anything that I had really experienced, especially over the past few years, because Hanna had never gone through those things and never really lived a life. I found that helpful in portraying her innocence and her naivete. I guess I always had it in the back of my head where she came from and why she was here and it was a real acute awareness, I guess.
Street: What was your experience like working with such a phenomenal cast, including the supporting actors?
SR: It was terrific to work with them. I’m glad you mentioned supporting actors, because we really did have a terrific cast on this movie, and everyone did something really interesting with their performance. I mean, with Cate — I guess she is, as we all know, a wonderful actress, and to observe how she works on set is quite fascinating. She’s really focused and very professional, and you can see that she really cares about what she does — and for a young actor, that’s really a great thing to see.
I worked with Eric probably more than anyone else and I got to know him really well. We have a bit of a brother/sister relationship and we’re always fooling around.