“We were doing a night shoot last night,” Saoirse Ronan lets out a good-natured groan, phoning from Boston the place she has reunited with Greta Gerwig for a brand new adaptation of Little Women. Ronan performs Jo March, alongside Eliza Scanlen, Emma Watson and Florence Pugh, plus Lady Bird co-star Timothée Chalamet and Meryl Streep. Though that undertaking hasn’t even wrapped filming, the sheer expertise in entrance of and behind the digital camera has already made the movie a future Oscar contender.
Ronan, who’s 24, has three Academy Award nominations to her identify, in spite of everything, first acknowledged in 2008, when she was 13, for Atonement, then once more in 2016 (Brooklyn) and 2018 (Lady Bird). It appears rarer and rarer 12 months goes by with out Ronan being within the Oscar combine, and this 12 months is not any exception: She’s earned rave critiques for Mary Queen of Scots, during which she performs the eponymous Scottish queen, the formidable and maybe misjudged Mary Stuart, as she challenges her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I (an more and more bewigged Margot Robbie), for the throne. Ahead of the movie’s launch on Friday, Ronan spoke with ET about seeing Robbie’s transformation for the primary time and shares her finest Meryl Steep story.
I really like that this movie takes a style that has largely catered to males and not solely places ladies on the forefront however would not abandon its femininity within the course of, particularly within the character of Mary.
Saoirse Ronan: Yeah, it is thrilling to be part of one thing like that. I feel the factor that excited me essentially the most was attending to play a Scottish queen and, like, a Celtic girl. I had by no means seen that earlier than in a movie. We’ve seen different depictions of the English monarchy — and French and Russian and all of that — however by no means Celtic, actually. I cherished that and I cherished, as effectively, that we obtained to indicate the relationships that Mary had together with her 4 Marys, her finest buddies, and how a lot she honored these relationships and how loyal all of them have been to one another. I feel it was actually necessary to incorporate that. To me, that’s an important relationship within the movie, is her relationship together with her 4 Marys.
You shot On Chesil Beach between Lady Bird and Mary Queen of Scots, however how tough is it to bounce from one thing extra modern like Lady Bird right into a historic interval piece?
It’s not that tough upon getting the time to maneuver onto the following factor. I imply, I had no time between Lady Bird and On Chesil Beach, which was… powerful. It was laborious. And extra so, although, simply since you’re knackered on the finish of a job. [Laughs.] And with interval items, extra so than with modern-day stuff, it simply at all times turns into a factor the place you need to take into consideration the motion, the way in which they spoke and normally the costumes are extra intricate and there’s extra to them. So, much more thought and prep normally wants to enter that and the picture of them and all that form of stuff. But really, if you’ve completed one thing fashionable, otherwise you’ve completed a couple of issues in a row which might be fashionable or interval, you need the other, then. In that sense, it is very nice.
Do you discover that it is laborious to remain in that interval mindset on set, when the director calls lower and everybody might simply pull out their telephones, or what have you ever?
Well, I hate having telephones on set. I do not thoughts should you’re off set and you are in between setups or one thing, however I by no means, ever, ever try this. I hate when individuals do it as a result of… you are at work! But there’s a lot put on the individuals in interval movies being fully completely different to us these days, and I simply do not assume that is true. I feel typically with movies which were set up to now, in the event that they’re completed in a sure approach, individuals can change off or detach. [That] is what we did not need to do with Mary. We’ve gotten a lot data purely from portraits which were painted of those individuals and books which were written about that point interval and a variety of them are fairly stiff and not likely primarily based on something actual. Whereas Mary Queen of Scots most likely did slouch and she most likely did slur her phrases, each now and once more, and all of that. So, we needed to convey that again into this movie as a lot as we might.
And so a lot of my favourite scenes have been when Mary was laughing or gossiping with the Marys. She felt fashionable in that approach, like somebody who might be round as we speak, besides, you understand, very fancy and royal.
That’s it! One of the issues that struck me once I was prepping for it’s that, clearly, there may be much more at stake [for Mary], however her place and her needing to shift from public persona to who she really was is fairly just like what individuals within the public eye must do. That entire means of like, Okay, now I am on. And now, I am with those that I belief and I do not should be. I can determine with that, actually. It really ended up the extra I discovered about her, the extra relatable and the extra present she appeared.
Had you met Margot earlier than this movie?
I’ve met her a few occasions, yeah.
Through awards season occasions and such?
Yeah, we had met at an awards present and then, earlier than that, we have been each on the similar dinner that our buddies, Richard and Emma, threw in New York a couple of years in the past. Margot was there and I simply knew immediately she was going to be pretty and precisely what everybody thinks she could be. And she was!
Because you stored your distance from one another throughout filming, what was your first response if you lastly noticed Margot within the hair and the costume and the prosthetics?
Oh, it was wonderful. It was such an emotional factor to lastly be in the identical room as one another and try this scene with each other, as a result of we had one another on our minds the entire approach by means of. It was my very first day and it was her final day and it was a really loaded scene for us, personally, simply because it meant an terrible lot to us as individuals. Then, on prime of that, I knew her look was going to be excessive and memorable, however to really see it within the flesh was unimaginable. We did the primary take and basically simply cried and have been sharking the whole time as a result of the emotion of all of it and the adrenaline of it was by means of the roof.
I wager you bought a good quantity of face time throughout awards season this 12 months. [Robbie and Ronan were both Oscar nominees for Best Actress.] But did you could have an opportunity after wrapping to get collectively with out the trimmings of the interval piece and mirror on your time on this film?
We nonetheless have not had an opportunity to have a dinner but, as a result of Margot is the busiest girl on the planet and has been off doing plenty of stuff. And she’s over within the States lots, so hopefully, we’ll get in a while throughout this press tour to only hang around a bit and have a natter.
You mentioned you are filming Little Women proper now. How is that going?
Really effectively! Everyone’s nice. Everyone’s doing nice work. We’re actually enthusiastic about it. The script’s wonderful, as you’d solely anticipate from Greta. We’ve solely obtained a few weeks left now. It’s been wonderful, simply coming again to work together with her once more and do one thing on a bigger scale together with her and a number of the crew and the forged that we had labored with on Lady Bird has been actually nice. It’s been actually particular.
As with Mary and her Marys, I think about it have to be enjoyable and rewarding to be working with so many actresses your personal age on this?
It is, yeah. It is. It’s one thing that I feel is comparatively new for all of us, for all the ladies, and it is simply nice enjoyable, you understand? I am discovering it very thrilling to go from being not solely the one younger individual normally within the movie, however — I have never at all times been the one lady, however I’ve normally been the one younger individual. To be surrounded by a bunch of individuals my very own age and, particularly, the women, it simply appears like a protected area and you possibly can actually let go along with each other. We’re all extremely snug with each other, and it was the identical on Mary. Like myself and the ladies who performed the 4 Marys, we’re nice buddies now. One of them, Eileen [O’Higgins], who performs Mary Beaton within the movie, is definitely my finest pal in actual life. We’ve completed two movies collectively now, so simply having the ability to have that have together with her was fantastic.
Can you share with me your finest Meryl Streep story, thus far?
Ooh, my finest Meryl Streep story. [Laughs.] I wasn’t there at the present time, however they obtained In-N-Out — Or, not In-N-Out. Was it a Wendy’s? They obtained a Wendy’s or one thing, as a result of they have been all ravenous, which I simply discover hilarious. There’s of Meryl within the hair and make-up frock with a bag of chips. So, that is unbelievable. And she’s simply wonderful and has been so sensible on the job.