Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse Ronan Biography

Saoirse Una Ronan ( ; born 12 April 1994) is an Irish and American actress. She is a two-time Academy Award nominee; receiving a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Atonement (2007), and a Best Actress nomination for Brooklyn (2015). She has also received three BAFTA Award nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, two Screen Actors Guild nominations and two Satellite Awards.

She had her feature film debut in the romantic comedy I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007). Other roles include City of Ember (2008), The Lovely Bones (2009), Hanna (2011), The Way Back (2010), Byzantium (2012), The Host (2013), How I Live Now (2013), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), and Lady Bird (2017).

In January 2016, Ronan was included on the Forbes '30 Under 30' list, in both the European and USA editions. In March 2016, Ronan made her Broadway debut in a revival of The Crucible, in the role of Abigail Williams, for which she received much acclaim. She appeared on the cover of Time magazine in June 2016, one of ten young leaders selected as 'Next Generation Leaders'.

Early life

Born in The Bronx, in New York City, Ronan is the only child of Irish parents Monica (ne Brennan) and Paul Ronan, who both hail from Dublin. Her father is also an actor, and her mother had acted as a child. Ronan's family moved to Dublin, Ireland when she was three years old, later settling in Carlow, Ireland. Ronan moved to Howth, Dublin with her parents in her early teens.



Ronan made her screen debut on Irish public service broadcaster RT, in the 2003 prime time medical drama The Clinic and then appeared in the mini-serial Proof. During the same time, Ronan auditioned to play Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a role she eventually lost out to Evanna Lynch.

At the age of 12, Ronan was asked to attend a casting call for Joe Wright's 2007 film adaptation of Ian McEwan's 2001 novel Atonement. She auditioned for and won the part of Briony Tallis, a 13-year-old aspiring novelist, who impacts several lives by accusing her sister's lover of a crime he did not commit. She acted alongside Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. Wright grew more and more impressed with Ronan on-set, and Ronan declared her role a "fantastic part [to play]." Budgeted at US$30 million, the film became a financial and critical success, resulting in a worldwide box office total of US$130 million and various awards, including the BAFTA Award for Best Film, Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama, and an 2008 Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Ronan received rave reviews for her performance, with Ty Burr of The Boston Globe calling her "remarkable [and] eccentric", and was subsequently nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, ranking her among the ten youngest to be nominated for the latter.

Ronan's next film was Amy Heckerling's often-delayed romantic comedy I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007). Initially shot in 2005 in Los Angeles and London, the film went straight-to-DVD after it had struggled to attract financing and several deals disintegrated during its post-production in spite of its $25 million budget. In the film, Ronan portrayed the character of Izzie Grossman, the pubescent daughter of a television show screenwriter, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, who falls for a younger man (Paul Rudd), while Izzie falls in love for the first time herself. Upon its release, the independent project garnered generally lukewarm reviews, with Joe Leydon of Variety summing it as "a desperately unfunny mix of tepid showbiz satire and formulaic romantic comedy".

In 2008, Ronan starred in both Death Defying Acts and the science-fiction fantasy film City of Ember. In Gillian Armstrong's supernatural romantic thriller Death Defying Acts, she played Benji McGarvie, the daughter of an impoverished and uneducated psychic, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, who begins a passionate affair with magician Harry Houdini at the height of his career. Ronan was awarded an Irish Film & Television Award for her performance. Released to a mixed reception, the film was not a success at the box office, barely grossing US$8.3 million worldwide. In Gil Kenan's City of Ember Ronan starred as Lina Mayfleet, a teenager who must save the people of the underground city Ember. The fantasy film, based on the 2003 novel by Jeanne DuPrau, received mixed reviews from critics, and grossed US$17 million worldwide, well below its US$55 million budget.

In 2009, Ronan was cast in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood but dropped out to star alongside Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci in Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones (2009), an adaptation of the book of the same name by Alice Sebold. Ronan plays 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who, after being murdered, watches from the "in-between" as her family and friends struggle to move on with their lives while she comes to terms with her own death. Ronan and her family were originally hesitant for Ronan to accept her role in the film because of its subject matter, but agreed after meeting with Jackson, who described her as "just amazing on-screen". The Lovely Bones was released to mixed reviews from critics, who criticised the film's story and its message. Critics praised the acting however, particularly Ronan's, whose performance Richard Corliss of Time described as "magic". The film garnered various accolades, winning Ronan a Critics' Choice Award and a Saturn Award as well as a second BAFTA Award nomination the following year.


In 2010's The Way Back, directed by Peter Weir, Ronan played Irena, a Polish orphan who joins a group of prisoners who escape from the gulag in Siberia in 1940 and attempt to make a 4,000-mile trek to India. Shot on location in Bulgaria, India and Morocco alongside Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell and Ed Harris, the war drama film received generally positive reviews, with The Daily Telegraph calling it "a journey that feels awful and heroic and unfathomable - and one you"?ll want to watch again". Her performance in the film garnered Ronan her fourth IFTA Award. In 2010, Ronan was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In 2011, Ronan starred as the title character in the action thriller Hanna about a 15-year-old girl who has been brought up in the Arctic wilderness to be the perfect assassin. Co-starring Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana, the film marked her reunion with Atonement director Joe Wright, who was consulted after Ronan prompted the producers to consider him. Driven by prominent dark fairy tale elements, Hanna earned generally positive reviews by critics, while Ronan garnered acclaim for her performance, winning her a PFCS Award and another IFTA Award. In his review for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers called Ronan an "acting sorceress." In November 2011, Ronan took part in a promotion for the Irish Film Institute's Archive Preservation Fund, in which she was digitally edited into popular Irish films of the past, as well as documentary footage. In that same month, Ronan was announced as an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Also in 2011, Ronan was cast in the title role for Hiromasa Yonebayashi's Arrietty's United Kingdom release. Later that year, she was in talks to play the woodland elf Itaril in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film series but eventually withdrew, citing scheduling issues. The character was never recast and does not appear in the Hobbit films.

She was in talks to play Kitty in Joe Wright's Anna Karenina in 2012 but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Ronan's next film was Andrew Niccol's film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's novel The Host in which she plays the dual main characters of Wanderer and Melanie Stryder, a human rebel who was captured and implanted with a parasitic alien soul. The film debuted in March 2013 and was generally panned by critics, who called it "poorly scripted and dramatically ineffective". Also in 2013, Ronan starred in director Neil Jordan's vampire film Byzantium, an adaptation of the play of the same name, and in Geoffrey S. Fletcher's directorial debut Violet & Daisy, where she again played a teen assassin.

Ronan's last film in 2013 was the film adaptation of the 2004 novel How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. She plays a New York City teenager sent to stay on a remote farm in the United Kingdom during the outbreak of a fictional third world war. Directed by Kevin Macdonald, it was screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. On 2 December 2013, Ronan announced the winner of the Turner Prize in Derry as part of the UK City of Culture 2013, and presented the prize to Laure Prouvost.

Ronan appeared as Agatha, in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, co-starring Bill Murray, Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Jude Law and Owen Wilson, and in Lost River, the directorial debut of Ryan Gosling. In 2014, Ronan starred as Leia in the psychological thriller Stockholm, Pennsylvania directed by Nikole Beckwith. Ronan was considered for the title role in Disney's 2015 remake of Cinderella, but the part eventually went to English actress Lily James.

Ronan played the lead role of Eilis Lacey in the universally acclaimed film Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley. It is based on the novel of the same name by Colm Toibin. The film was released on 6 November 2015, and Ronan's performance earned her widespread critical acclaim. In January 2016, Ronan received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress, while the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. In the same month, Ronan moved to New York City to begin rehearsals for her debut appearance on Broadway, taking the role of Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller's The Crucible. The play, directed by Ivo van Hove, opened on 31 March after a month of previews, and ran for 125 performances, until 17 July.

Upcoming projects

In 2018, Ronan will star in the lead role as Florence Ponting in the film adaptation of On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. She will star as Mary Stuart in the film adaptation of Mary Queen of Scots for Focus Features and Working Title. Filming commenced in August 2017 for a 2018 release.

Personal life

Ronan holds dual American and Irish citizenship. She has lived in Manhattan, New York City since January 2016.



Year Title Role(s) Director(s) Notes
2007 I Could Never Be Your Woman Izzie Mensforth Amy Heckerling
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey Celia Hardwick Bill Clark
Atonement Briony Tallis (aged 13) Joe Wright
Death Defying Acts Benji McGarvie Gillian Armstrong
2008 City of Ember Lina Mayfleet Gil Kenan
2009 The Lovely Bones Susie Salmon Peter Jackson
2010 Arrietty Arrietty Hiromasa Yonebayashi Voice; English dub
The Way Back Irena Zieli?ska Peter Weir
2011 Hanna Hanna Heller Joe Wright
Violet & Daisy Daisy Geoffrey S. Fletcher
2012 Byzantium Eleanor Webb Neil Jordan
2013 The Host Melanie Stryder / Wanderer "Wanda" Andrew Niccol
How I Live Now Daisy Kevin Macdonald
Justin and the Knights of Valour Talia Manuel Sicilia Voice
2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel Agatha Wes Anderson
Muppets Most Wanted Ballet Dancer James Bobin Cameo
Lost River Rat Ryan Gosling
2015 Stockholm, Pennsylvania Leia Dargon Nikole Beckwith
Brooklyn ilis Lacey John Crowley
2017 Loving Vincent Marguerite Gachet Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman
Lady Bird Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson Greta Gerwig
On Chesil Beach Florence Ponting Dominic Cooke
2018 The Seagull Nina Zarechnaya Michael Mayer Completed
Mary Queen of Scots Mary, Queen of Scots Josie Rourke Post-production

Music videos

Year Song Artist Role
2013 "Garden's Heart" Bat for Lashes Lead Girl
2016 "Cherry Wine" Hozier Lead Girl
2017 "Galway Girl" Ed Sheeran Galway Girl


Year Title Role Notes
2003-2004 The Clinic Rhiannon Geraghty 4 episodes
2005 Proof Orla Boland 4 episodes
2014 Robot Chicken Various Voice; 2 episodes
2017 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Saoirse Ronan/U2"


Year Title Role Venue
2016 The Crucible Abigail Williams Walter Kerr Theatre

Awards and nominations

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See also

  • List of actors with Academy Award nominations

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