Magazine article Screen International

Saoirse Ronan and John Crowley Discuss 'Brooklyn'

Magazine article Screen International

Saoirse Ronan and John Crowley Discuss 'Brooklyn'

Article excerpt

Saoirse Ronan gives a career-changing performance in John Crowley's Brooklyn as Eilis Lacey, a young Irish woman who aims for a better life by moving to New York in 1952 and finding a job as a department-store assistant. When she's called back to Ireland following a death in the family, she has to choose between her new life in America, including a blossoming romance with Tony (Emory Cohen), and a chance to stay in Ireland and imagine a future with the dependable Jim (Domhnall Gleeson).

For Ronan, now 21, playing Eilis marks her first major role as a young woman. We've seen her grow up on screen starting, at age 12, with her Oscar-nominated performance as Briony Tallis in Atonement; her Bafta-nominated role in The Lovely Bones; her more action-packed turn in Hanna; a sensitive performance in Kevin Macdonald's How I Live Now; and most recently joining the esteemed ensemble of Wes Anderson'sThe Grand Budapest Hotel.

Ireland-born, London-based director Crowley is enjoying the best reviews of his career with Brooklyn, having previously made Intermission, Boy A (starring the then-unknown Andrew Garfield), Is Anybody There? and Closed Circuit. Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey (An Education) produce, and Nick Hornby adapted the script from Colm Toibin's acclaimed novel. Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent round out the cast.

Brooklyn premiered at Sundance in January 2015, where it became the breakout hit of the festival, with HanWay/CAA striking an estimated $9m deal with Fox Searchlight for the US. After screening in Telluride and Toronto, the film was launched theatrically on November 4 in the US by Fox Searchlight and November 6 in the UK by LionsGate UK. In its opening weekend in Ireland, it earned $652,200, to become the highest-opening Irish film since Michael Collins in 1996.

As for Ronan, she will be honoured on January 2 with the International Star Award at the 27th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival and in February makes her Broadway debut in The Crucible. Screen invited Crowley to interrogate his leading lady about Brooklyn and her career during the film's screening at the BFI London Film Festival in October.

John Crowley Has your sense of yourself as an actor changed over the years?

Saoirse Ronan No, I don't think it has. Without sounding cocky, I am more aware now of how to use what I have. …

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