Saoirse Ronan flies high with Lady Bird

Saoirse Ronan flies high with Lady Bird
From BBC - February 12, 2018

"She does not follow the pack. She's very driven - she has a strong sense of self."

Saoirse Ronan is talking about Lady Bird, the character she plays in the film of the same name - but she might as well be talking about herself.

It's seen her win her third Oscar nomination, the first having come when she was just 13, for Atonement. She's already won the Golden Globe for best actress for the role, sweetly FaceTiming her mum from the audience so she could watch too.

Lady Bird is Greta Gerwig's directorial debut and has seen her become only the fifth woman nominated for a best director Oscar. It's been almost universally praised for its realistic, but affectionate, look at the life of a teenager on the verge of leaving home and her relationship with her mother - and it's also up for best film.

No wonder then that Saoirse is looking so happy and relaxed. Her silver strappy platforms have been taken off and she's sat on the floor of a hotel suite, eating sushi. "Is it cold in here?" she ponders, going over to the thermostat before settling back on the carpet.

We talked to her about how Saved by the Bell was her inspiration for the role, why she wanted to change her own name - and why she's like Beyonce.

Congratulations on the Oscar nomination. What attracted you to the role of Lady Bird?

Lady Bird is very much her own person. She does not follow the pack. She's very driven, she has a very strong sense of self. One of the things that's unusual for female leads, especially in a film about a teenager, is that she believes in herself, you know?

Even if she does not know what she wants to be or what it is she wants to say, she knows she's going to do something. She's very committed to being herself.

The film is made up of these little moments between a family and friends and within relationships. It's set in a time for this young person, and for her family, where everything is moving a little faster than they'd like - and they ca not quite catch up with it. That's just what the end of childhood is like. It's gone before you can fully grasp what it was that happened.

How was that similar, or not, to what it was like being a teenager for you?

The insecurity she had and the hope she had - that feeling of needing to leave home in order to find yourself - was something I could really identify with and really relate to. And the need for a strong friendship to anchor you.

When it came to the whole American high school experience - that was something I knew nothing about. The only thing I had to draw from was Saved by the Bell and Sabrina the Teenage Witch - American high school shows.

The way the mother-daughter relationship is portrayed is really realistic. How did you approach it?

You are watching two people that really love each other. There is a lot they share which is lovely and fun and it's sort of being overwhelmed by the mother's fear of change and the kid's desperation to get out and have something new.

They are just missing each other, just by an inch. They just do not get each other. It's not that either one of them is necessarily out-and-out wrong, but they do not understand how the other one could think in the way that they do. It only takes time and life and experience and moving away to understand the other one. More so for the kid, I think.

What did your mum think of the film - and what your on-screen mum Laurie Metcalfe was like?


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