Wild child unleashes hell
IRISH actress Saoirse Ronan is full of surprises on screen, whether it was her chilling Oscar-nominated performance in 2007’ s Atonement at the age of 14, her tour de force role opposite Cate Blanchett ( top left) and Eric Bana in the new action film Hanna or one of the other high-quality films she has made in recent years.
In an interview in Beverly Hills, Ronan ( pictured and inset with Bana), who just turned 17, shocks again. ‘‘ Can I tell you a secret?’’ she asks. What comes out of her mouth next are words deeply upsetting to any true blue Australian.
‘‘ I kind of want to be a Kiwi as well,’’ Ronan says with a straight face.
The revelation comes after it is pointed out to the teenager that her amazing body of work is linked to some of Australia’s great actors and filmmakers.
In Hanna, Bana plays her father who, after years training her to be an assassin in the wilds of northern Finland, releases her on a mission to kill a ruthless CIA agent, played by Blanchett.
Last year Australian director Peter Weir cast Ronan in the epic The Way Back.
In 2007 another Aussie director, Gillian Armstrong, hired Ronan alongside Guy Pearce in the drama Death Defying Acts.
When it is put to Ronan, who lives with her parents in County Carlow in northeast Ireland, that her links to Australia are so deep she probably could pass for an Aussie, she agrees, but then offers up her desire to also be a New Zealander.
‘‘ I know I’m not supposed to say that, but I have to be loyal to the Kiwis,’’ Ronan says.
One of Ronan’s other lauded performances was in New Zealand for the 2009 crimedrama-fantasy film The Lovely Bones by New Zealand director Peter Jackson, a role many believed Ronan should have scored the second Oscar nomination of her young life, playing a girl murdered by a paedophile neighbour.
The dark themes of the movie did not dampen her love for New Zealand, although she is a little confused about one thing.
‘‘ Is Vegemite Australian or New Zealand?’’ she asks.
One thing Jackson or the Australian elite that have worked with the young blonde are not confused about is her acting talent and maturity. It was put to the test in Hanna, a film shot in - 30C temperatures in the northern ice fields of Finland, in scorching + 50C heat in the deserts of Morocco and required the teenager to pull off action scenes as complex as any in the Bourne or James Bond films.
Adding another layer to the role, Ronan’s character is a clone created during a CIA experiment who has lived the majority of her life in seclusion.
One moment she battles CIA agents and thugs, the next she is a wide-eyed girl projecting wonderment when encountering a TV set or other teenagers for the first time.
Hanna’s father keeps her in a hut near the North Pole in Finland, home-schooling her with encyclopedias, fairytales and hand-tohand combat drills until he believes she is ready to embark on the mission to kill CIA agent Marissa Wiegler.
‘‘ She’s amazing,’’ Blanchett says of her young co-star.
‘‘ She’s this sunny, gorgeous, switched-on teenager and then she gets in front of the camera and has this unbelievable work ethic and is able to go to really dark places, but yet be so emotionally healthy as a girl.
‘‘ She’s like a clone herself in the sense of you think ‘ Where is the flaw here?’.’’