Saoirse Ronan: A Name to Know

post_soairse.jpgHollywood casting agents frequently ask actors at an audition, “How young can you play?” Of course, the answer given is always at least 10-20 years younger than the actor’s actual age, even if it’s not always the truth.

It is the truth for Saoirse Ronan, who plays as young as 13 years when in real life, she’s the doddering old age of 14.

The name Saoirse is Irish, pronounced “Seer-sha” and it means Freedom and Liberty. Born in Ireland in 1993 and daughter of British actor, Paul Ronan, Saoirse is getting raves at the Toronto Film Festival for her outstanding performance as a fledgling writer of 13 who sets out to muck up the relationship between her older sister (Keira Knightly) and the man who loves her (James McAvoy) by accusing him of a crime he did not commit, in the romantic epic, Atonement. Screenplay by Christopher Hampton from Ian McEwan’s novel.

A busy young girl, Saoirse’s next role is that of Benji in Death Defying Acts, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones as Mary McGregor and Guy Pearce as Harry Houdini, the story of the great illusionist’s affair with a psychic con-woman. Death Defying Acts is due out later this year. Screenplay by Tony Grisoni and Brian Ward.

Currently filming City of Ember, due out in 2008, Saoirse plays Lina, with Bill Murray as the Mayor of Ember, a city in which the main generator which lights their famous twinklers, is failing. Screenplay by Caroline Thompson from Jeanne Duprau’s novel.

Saoirse is also in pre-production for next year’s film adaptation of The Lovely Bones, based on Alice Sebond’s 2004 best selling novel, screenplay by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens. The film will star Ryan Gosling and Rachael Weisz.

As young as today’s actors are, they’ve still got to stay alert — there’s always someone younger coming up fast.