Star Saoirse flees after ‘stalker’ ter­ror at screen­ing

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News -

HE’S known for writ­ing grip­ping sto­ries of ob­ses­sion – and now au­thor Ian McEwan may well have fresh in­spi­ra­tion for his next psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller after Ir­ish ac­tress Saoirse Ro­nan was ac­costed by an ag­i­tated man at a film screen­ing.

Saoirse, 24, was on stage at a May­fair cin­ema last week with McEwan and a co-star for a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion after a show­ing of her new film On Ch­e­sil Beach, based on the writer’s 2007 book.

I was in the au­di­ence and watched in hor­ror as a mid­dle-aged man, who de­scribed him­self as a ‘Chuck Ber­rylov­ing coun­try bump­kin’, asked a sex­u­ally ex­plicit ques­tion that had noth­ing to do with the film.

Be­mused, Saoirse allowed co-star Billy Howle to an­swer but the man be­came ag­i­tated and rushed to­wards her from his seat just ten yards away. McEwan, 69, jumped to his feet to pro­tect the ac­tress.

The man came within touch­ing dis­tance of Saoirse – but five bounc­ers, be­lieved to be a mix of cin­ema se­cu­rity and film com­pany min­ders, got to him first, man­han­dling him out of the build­ing. Shocked Saoirse was hur­riedly es­corted off stage.

A stunned McEwan was over­heard dis­cussing the in­ci­dent with friends, and de­scribed the in­truder as a ‘creep’. Some au­di­ence mem­bers took to Twit­ter to share news of what had hap­pened. One wrote: ‘Didn’t ex­pect some big grown dude to just walk on to the stage... Did he want a hand­shake or hug? Who knows!’ An­other wrote: ‘A shame about Saoirse’s stalker’.

Saoirse – pro­nounced Sur-sha – rose to fame play­ing a teenage writer in McEwan’s 2007 film Atone­ment and was nom­i­nated for an Os­car this year for her role in Lady Bird.

Saoirse and the cast left the build­ing via a side en­trance when the man was seen loi­ter­ing out­side after be­ing ejected.

It’s un­der­stood there was no po­lice in­volve­ment. An or­gan­iser at the event said: ‘Thank­fully se­cu­rity dealt with it swiftly.’

CIN­EMA

SCARE: Saoirse Ro­nan and Ian McEwan

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