Saoirse’s Interview for Yahoo

With the premiere of Stockholm Pennsylvania on Lifetime, new interviews are being released in which Saoirse talks about the movie and more. This one was posted by Yahoo and you can read it below:

It’s no Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? And while we adore Lifetime movies of that ilk, this weekend’s television premiere of Stockholm, Pennsylvania — an intense kidnapping thriller that debuted earlier this year at Sundance — is a welcome addition to the Lifetime library of mother-daughter drama movies.

Pithily described by star Cynthia Nixon as “Misery with a mother and daughter,” the movie, from first-time director Nikole Beckwith, also stars Atonement Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan, 21, as Leia, a young woman who was kidnapped when she was four-years-old. After spending 17 years with captor Ben, Leia is returned to her parents, and the reunited family is not fated for a happily-ever-after ending.

Ronan, who is fascinating and heartbreaking as Leia, talks to Yahoo TV about telling this aspect of a kidnapping story — which was recently nominated for a Critics Choice award — and the TV shows that are inspiring her to look for a small-screen starring role herself.

What aspect of the story initially attracted you to it?
That [Leia’s] whole life had kind of been taken away from her, the life that she should have had was taken away from her, and instead she was completely secluded and very much became this man’s world, his whole existence for 17 years. But I think it’s also interesting the love that she had for Ben, and the, in a way, admiration she had for him. He brought her up, and how he taught her things, and he gave her morals and principles… how she takes that with her when she goes into the real world is really interesting. It’s a really interesting study when it comes to an audience’s reaction to that, and it’s not a typical Hollywood story in the sense that she goes back to her biological family and everything just fits into place. It really doesn’t, and it’s very much about the struggle between her and her mother.

Without going into spoilery specifics, Leia has grown up in an environment that didn’t include a lot of modern things, electronics, phones, TV — things that can be big distractions. Was that a challenge to portray?
It was… We use our phones and we use our laptops as a distraction from real life, and I think the strength that comes from Leia is that she’s not a modern person. She’s very introverted, she’s very strong about who she is, she’s very smart as well… She’s not backwards. But, at the end of the day, she’s only been with one person for the most pivotal years in her life, and he’s represented everything to her. He’s been her God in a sense. He was her father, her friend, her brother, her lover… there are all these different layers to their relationship, and it raises the question, how much of us is actually who we are, and how much of us is a product of the atmosphere around us and the situations that we’re in, and the people that we’re surrounded by?

The details of Leia’s time with Ben unfolds throughout the movie, in dribs and drabs, which really makes it more impactful. What was your reaction to that as you were reading the script for the first time?
I thought it was disturbing. I think the story, it is supposed to make you feel a little unsettled. For me, whether it’s the most horrific story in the world or it’s a rom-com, if the female character is someone who’s very strong and layered and interesting, then I’m kind of reading the whole thing with a sort of excitement because I’ve found something really great. So as these things start to be revealed throughout the story, it’s dark and it’s informative, and it kind of helps you to understand who this blank canvas is a little bit more. Because when you meet her, you don’t really know what she’s about, why she comes out with the things that she does, and I love stories like that where things are kind of slowly revealed.

There are a lot heartbreaking moments, and they’re played so subtly, like Leia’s realization of the truth about her time with Ben. What affected you most about Leia’s story?
Jason and I spoke about it when we were at Sundance, how we all have certain relationships in our life, whether it’s with a parent or a boyfriend or girlfriend or a friend, or a mentor or someone you’ve worked with… they can sometimes be a kind of confusing relationship, and there’s so much adoration within the relationship that it can kind of blind you from the truth a little bit. So to see Leia, who is generally a very good, sincere person and is very truthful to that way she’s been brought up, for her whole reality essentially to be destroyed as the truth starts to seep in… it is heartbreaking.

You mentioned earlier that Ben is also her lover. That isn’t made explicitly clear in the movie, and will probably be something people would wonder about, or assume was true, in this situation.
Jason and I raised that question to Nikole a couple of times, and she wouldn’t really go into it too much… she didn’t want that to be the focus. She didn’t want to turn this into a child molester story, because that’s not really what it is. But I think the way Jason and I reasoned with it was that their relationship had different stages, and he represented different things to her as she grew up, and as her needs changed, he tried to adjust to that. That was my feeling towards it, but Nikole, I think, kind of left that up to us… I think it’s just more we hope that, like yourself, the [viewers] who see this are smart people who will raise questions about it and talk about it. It’s not as black and white as he’s a pedophile, and I love how complex it is. I love that they genuinely did love each other, they had a mutual love for each other that went beyond everything else.

You have such a lovely Irish accent, and a gift for different accents when the role requires it. Is it true that you perfected your American accent by watching Seinfeld?
[Laughs] I guess so, yeah. I was born in New York, and we moved back to Ireland when I was about three, but I grew up with American TV shows. I think kids really pick up — again, like Leia in the movie — on their environment and what’s going on in their environment. Kids are real sponges, and I guess I did grow up with things like Seinfeld and The Three Amigos, and lots of American comedy, so those sounds were just always kind of around. I guess my ears were just open to them… [my family] always uses accents when we’re joking around. That was always a very natural way for me to express myself, and I still do that now.

Would you consider starring in an American TV series, or guest starring, or doing a limited-run series?
Yeah, I’d like to do a limited-run series. I love True Detective. And I just watched Bloodline on Netflix… Oh, my God. It’s bloody brilliant. It’s so good. Ben Mendelsohn is the best, obviously. I mean, Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard, and Linda Cardellini… they’re all excellent in it. I think it’s the best ensemble cast I’ve seen in a show. So yeah, I’d love to do something like that. I just think the quality is so high, I would be a fool if something great came up, not to do it.