Actor, style icon, wild-swimming enthusiast, fledgling producer and director in the making: Saoirse Ronan is nothing if not versatile. The protean performer, who has captivated viewers on both screen and stage, talks to Charlotte Brook about taking pride in her Irish roots, navigating life in the public eye and why she still has big ambitions to fulfil.
Words by CHARLOTTE BROOK. Photographed by AGATA POSPIESZYNSKA. Styled by CHARLIE HARRINGTON
SAOIRSE RONAN is trying to persuade me that making yourself cry in front of a camera is “a joy”. As ever with the actor, she’s very convincing. “Any pent-up sadness, anger and frustration that you inevitably carry around with you gets let out,” she continues in her still-strong Irish brogue, pushing her white-blonde bob into a scruffy side-parting. “So, ironically, it’s the best thing ever.”
It’s one of many such insights that come as an unexpected bonus of an interview that, in theory, should be an impossible equation: a conversation with a four-time Oscar nominee, whose performances have mesmerised, charmed and broken the hearts of audiences for nearly 20 years, in which we can talk about anything except films. Like her peers, in a campaign for better pay and working conditions for their community, she is supporting the SAG-AFTRA strike, which prohibits actors from promoting or even naming any studio TV or movie projects, past or present. On the one hand, this is frustrating, as I have much to ask about her fantastic-sounding forthcoming releases — but on the other, sidestepping the specifics of her career does present an opportunity for Ronan to step back and reflect on her broader storytelling motives, ambitions