Lisa Hafey Staff Writer
19-year-old Byzantium star Saoirse Ronan may have been acting since she was 10, but in all that time her parents have accompanied her on location. This time around, for her new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, she has decided to go it alone.
She said: “I want to be able to look after myself. I felt strongly about making my own food and doing my own washing. I wouldn’t go down the route of having an assistant. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be normal.
“I’ve always been quite mature because of the way my parents brought me up. They were very good at talking to me like a person rather than a baby and I was around so many actors and directors from such a young age because my dad is an actor. I was more comfortable with adults rather than actually being an adult child.
"I don’t think I ever lost that child-like quality. I was never one of those kids, and I’ve seen them, who act like an adult on set. I don’t want to be that kind of person. I enjoyed it too much to be that serious."
Although she has been on camera for half her life, she doesn’t think it’s made her grow up too quickly.
"No, I think I’m exactly where I should be. I’m aware when you’re 19 you do get offered more grown-up roles or roles for a 16 year old and it’s about trying to find the balance between those two. You have to be careful," she explained. "And personally, I do feel like a teenager. It’s nice at the moment; everything feels good."
She described her experience of being without a chaperone on set for the first time:
"It was a bit strange at first, because me Mam has always been there on set, or made dinner for me afterwards. But we all felt it was the right time. I was worried about suddenly growing up and finding that people are still doing everything for me. It’s not even just Mam – there’s a lot of people on set who look after the actors. The whole thing is, ‘You can’t upset the actors!’ I’m not into all that. I started feeling I needed to do more for myself.”
The Grand Budapest Hotel is also a milestone for Ronan in another sense, as it sees her use her Irish accent for the first time on film.
"I’m doing an Irish accent for my character. Wes just decided to let me, and I’m really chuffed. It’s actually the first time I’ve ever used an Irish accent in a film."
Saoirse’s first role was as Briony Tallis in the 2007 film, Atonement, for which she was nominated for an academy award. She was the murdered girl hunting for her killer in The Lovely Bones, and was recently in thriller, The Host, written by Twilight author, Stephanie Meyer. In Byzantium, she played a 200-year-old vampire.