Saoirse f lees af­ter ‘stalker’ ter­ror at film screen­ing

Ac­tress’s shock as man rushes stage

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Char­lotte Grif­fiths news@mailon­sun­

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 Saoirse Ro­nan was ac­costed by an ag­i­tated man at a film screen­ing in Lon­don,

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.

Shocked Saoirse hur­riedly es­corted off stage

Those at the film screen­ing were hor­ri­fied when a mid­dle-aged man, who de­scribed him­self as a ‘Chuck Berry-lov­ing coun­try bump­kin’, asked a sex­u­ally ex­plicit ques­tion that had noth­ing to do with the film.

Ini­tially be­mused, Saoirse al­lowed cos­tar Billy Howle to an­swer, but the man then be­came ag­i­tated and rushed to­wards her from his seat just a few me­tres 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 ofcin­ema se­cu­rity and film com­pany min­ders, got to him first, man-han­dling him out of the build­ing. A shocked Saoirse was hur­riedly es­corted off stage.

McE­wan was over­heard dis­cussing the in­ci­dent with friends after­wards, and he 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, who grew up in Dublin and Car­low, 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.

An or­gan­iser of the event said Saoirse and the cast left the build­ing via a side entrance af­ter the man was seen loi­ter­ing out­side af­ter be­ing ejected. It’s un­der­stood there was no po­lice in­volve­ment.

The or­gan­iser said: ‘Thank­fully se­cu­rity dealt with it swiftly.’

cin­ema ter­ror: Saoirse Ro­nan

movie: Saoirse with co-star Billy Howle in her new film ON CH­E­SIL BEACH

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