Film stars frequently rise to their place in the showbusiness firmament trailing a glittering series of lead roles and fiery celebrity feuds behind them. Others, like Saoirse Ronan, appear there suddenly, twinkling down benignly.
The Golden Globe-winner, now an A-list performer despite being only 23, is the open-faced, unpretentious Irish-American actor whose starring role in the acclaimed new film Lady Bird, along with forthcoming lead parts in the films Mary Queen of Scots, On Chesil Beach and The Seagull, is about to heavily underline her arrival in the first rank of talent. Yet reaching the top of the casting directors’ wishlists has been quietly achieved, through a succession of carefully delineated roles in unusual and complex films, such as Brooklyn, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Atonement.
Ronan’s latest performance, as the bolshy Sacramento teenager known as Lady Bird, has earned her awards and nominations in abundance. According to the New York Times, she plays the part, which is loosely based on the young life of the writer and director Greta Gerwig, “with daunting, dauntless precision”. She is already, the newspaper suggests, one of “the most formidable screen actors” of the day.
Fellow stars are also impressed. “Saoirse doesn’t have a dishonest bone in her body and that translates directly into her work, on to the screen,” Colin Farrell has said.
And as if all this early exposure and praise for her film work isn’t enough, Ronan also took to the Broadway stage with aplomb a year and a half ago as Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. She was “the face of this production” as far as the Hollywood Reporter was concerned, “icy and commanding in her first stage appearance”. What’s more, Ronan turned up last year in Ed Sheeran’s video for his hit song Galway Girl. With the exception of this little pop outing (and perhaps her cameo in Muppets: Most Wanted) the actor is distinguished by a succession of rather…