We recently got to chat with the lovely and talented Saoirse Ronan about her upcoming young adult adaptation “How I Live Now” (review here), which is kind of like what would have happened if Terrence Malick had directed “Red Dawn” (more from that interview soon). And while we had the young actress on the line, we had to quiz her about a myriad of upcoming projects she has in the works, everything from the upcoming Wes Anderson joint “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” to Ryan Gosling‘s directorial debut “How to Catch A Monster,” to things that are in a more nebulous state of flux, like Joe Wright‘s “Little Mermaid” and the hotly rumored “Fantastic Four” and “Star Wars: Episode VII.”
Of course we had to ask her about “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” the Wes Anderson movie that was just announced as opening the Berlin Film Festival this February, and what we can expect from it. “It’ll be very Wes Anderson. It’ll be wonderfully Wes,” Ronan said. “It’s very quirky and everyone is a really interesting character. I play somebody called Agatha who works in a bakery and she makes artisan chocolate and she’s got a birthmark on her right cheek in the shape of Mexico. And she’s the love interest of the Tony Revolori character, who’s the main character, who helps Ralph [Fiennes] steal this painting that belongs to him. It’s very grand and everything is very big and there’s a lot of action. Plus everyone’s amazing in it.”
Per our obsessive deconstruction of the trailer, we asked if Anderson explained to her about the different time periods/aspect ratios and if she could grasp, visually, what he was attempting to do while they were shooting. “Yes, he did [explain]. Wes decides what the film is going to look like before he shoots the film. He has storyboarded almost every single shot and kind of made an animation of it,” Ronan explained. “So he used animatics and would have them on his iPad Mini everyday, so he would show us what the scene was going to look like. But you can kind of figure out that they’re going to do very wide shots and very still shots and panning shots. So once you have a good grasp on Wes’ style, you’re into the flow.”
Back in 2011, while chatting with director Joe Wright about his Ronan-starring suspense film “Hanna,” he mentioned that he would want the young actress to lead his adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.” Considering the wave of fairy tale adaptations, you’d think this would be a priority for everyone. But not so, says Ronan. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to that,” she said about the film which has a script by Abi Morgan (who wrote “Shame” with Steve McQueen and recently penned the upcoming Ralph Fiennes-directed Charles Dickens movie “The Invisible Woman“). “I don’t think it’s something that’s going to be made right now. I haven’t heard anything about it in a while. So they’re trying to figure out what to do with that.”
Another intriguing project Ronan has already finished shooting is Ryan Gosling’s debut feature as a director, “How to Catch A Monster.” While Ronan wouldn’t tell us much about the fantastical plot (“I probably shouldn’t say too much about it”), she did let us in on who she is playing in the film, which is said to be sort of post-apocalyptic and largely set in an underwater city (yes, seriously).
“I can tell you I have a pet rat and we used a rat who I fell in love with and I wish that I could have kept. He was amazing. We became very close,” Ronan said. When we persisted about what kind of film it would be, she added, “It’s kind of, in a way, like if Ryan was a film, it would be this film. It’s a lot of his personality; this kind of off-centered humor to it, it’s very dark and twisted, and really cool. There’s a bit of neon in there. There was a neon flamingo in one scene, I remember. It’s pretty cool.”
Also on the docket for Ronan is “Brooklyn,” a story about immigration that was originally set to star Rooney Mara. “Yeah, that’s going to shoot around March, hopefully. It’s exciting,” Ronan said of the project, which will be directed by “Closed Circuit” filmmaker John Crowley. “It’ll be nice to finally play an Irish girl. It’s the story that millions and millions of Irish people go through, where you go to the States to get a job and struggle and hopefully make something of your self. It’s something that my mom and dad went through themselves and a lot of people we know. So I’m very excited about doing it.”
Of course, with “Brooklyn” now on her schedule, what does that mean for J.J. Abrams‘ “Star Wars: Episode VII,” which she auditioned for, and is expected to be in front cameras next year? Sadly, it seems like she doesn’t have the gig. “I don’t have ‘Star Wars.’ I don’t have the role,” Ronan said, sounding kind of defeated. “I just shouldn’t have said anything. I just auditioned for it, like everyone else did.” When we asked about the audition process, she said, “To pretend that you have a lightsaber in a scene is always very exciting. It would be great. But it’s something that everyone’s gone up for.”
One thing that she sounds not up for is the big screen reboot of “Fantastic Four” helmed by “Chronicle” director Josh Trank, which he has also been linked to. “I only heard that rumor. I’m not signed up for ‘Fantastic Four.'” Not that she’s opposed to doing one of these huge scale projects. “If it was the right thing,” she demurred.
“How I Live Now” opens this Friday via Magnolia Pictures.