Grazia (UK) - - 10 Hot Stories -

BY THE TIME Saoirse Ro­nan was 13, she had al­ready gained an Os­car nom­i­na­tion (and rap­tur­ous praise from crit­ics) for Atone­ment, fol­lowed by a lead­ing role in The Lovely Bones. But if all the in­gre­di­ents were there for her to be­come a child star diva, 10 years later the ac­tress is any­thing but.

Yet, in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with Grazia, the 23-year-old has re­vealed she once felt robbed of a nor­mal child­hood be­cause of her early suc­cesses.

Speak­ing to pro­mote her new film Lady Bird – Greta Ger­wig’s di­rec­to­rial de­but – she said, ‘I feel like I missed out on a fun, typ­i­cal, goofy teenage life. But I’m get­ting to do that now. I re­ally wanted to go to NYU for a very long time. And then I re­alised it was mainly be­cause I wanted that so­cial as­pect.’ 

How­ever, Saoirse praised Greta for help­ing her come to terms with the ‘lack’, say­ing, ‘I was away so much so I wasn’t a part of that struc­ture. But Greta says it’s your re­spon­si­bil­ity to learn. It’s not down to a teacher, a school. And any­thing that you learn, you’re not mem­o­ris­ing it to pass an exam, you’re do­ing it be­cause you ac­tu­ally have an in­ter­est in it.

‘Once you ac­cept that, it’s the most in­cred­i­ble thing, be­cause it’s some­thing that you hold with you for­ever.’

It comes af­ter Saoirse won her third Os­car nom­i­na­tion – for Best Ac­tress in Lady Bird. Greta, mean­while, re­ceived a nod for Best Di­rec­tor, mak­ing his­tory as only the fifth wo­man to be nom­i­nated in that cat­e­gory in the last 90 years.

The pair have be­come firm friends af­ter work­ing to­gether on the film – a semi-au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal ac­count of Greta’s up­bring­ing – which has won ef­fu­sive praise from crit­ics.

‘It was kind of a first for both of us, be­cause it was Greta’s first movie [as di­rec­tor] and I hadn’t done com­edy be­fore,’ says Saoirse. ‘ We talked a lot, about so many in­ti­mate things. I feel like right away we were “in it” with each other.’

Thanks to work­ing with Greta, fem­i­nism is now at the ‘core’ of her life. She added, ‘I was watch­ing Greta say all of these won­der­ful, smart things, and talk­ing about how she’s just soar­ing as a di­rec­tor. It’s so in­spir­ing and bril­liant. I feel like fem­i­nism has gone from quite a con­sid­ered thing for me to some­thing that is just in my bones.’

Saoirse also cred­its women like 34-yearold Greta with chang­ing the game for ac­tresses in Hol­ly­wood by cre­at­ing ‘ breath­ing space to sup­port each other and pur­sue things to­gether’.

‘It’s mainly the women in TV who I think have got­ten us to a point where film and TV are be­gin­ning to cross over now, with shows like Big Lit­tle Lies,’ she adds. ‘And what Lena Dun­ham, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did: all these peo­ple who were prob­a­bly not be­ing given the work that they de­served, so they went out and wrote it them­selves. They made a suc­cess of it and they made money out of it. Men pay at­ten­tion to money.’

Last month, Saoirse thanked Greta in her ac­cep­tance speech when she picked up a Golden Globe for Best Ac­tress in a Mu­si­cal or Com­edy. That night, she was one of count­less ac­tresses wear­ing black in sup­port of the Time’s Up move­ment in protest at sex­ual ha­rass­ment and gen­der in­equal­ity in Hol­ly­wood.

‘ There is a fe­male revo­lu­tion go­ing on right now,’ she says. ‘ We’re just at a point where you can’t es­cape and we have to do some­thing about it, on both sides – men and women. I can see in our in­dus­try that so many women have come to­gether to ac­tively pur­sue civil rights and cre­ate a safer and fairer en­vi­ron­ment.

‘ We’ve gone from say­ing, “Yes, we re­ally need to make a change and we’ve all got to stick to­gether,” to “Oh fuck, we re­ally need to make a change.” Now more than ever, fem­i­nism is at the core of my life.’

fem­i­nism has be­come some­thing that’s just in my bones

‘ Lady Bird’ is in cin­e­mas from 16 Feb­ru­ary

Saoirse (also be­low) and Greta on the set of crit­i­cally ac­claimed Lady Bird

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