Saoirse and a very talented group of actresses gathered earlier this month to talk with The Envelope about their films, their personal approaches to work, and their industry. Participating in the conversation were Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Helen Mirren, Charlotte Rampling and Lily Tomlin. A beautiful new portrait of Saoirse was released along with the article, and you can view it here.
Here are edited excerpts from the free-flowing conversation moderated by Times film writers Rebecca Keegan and Mark Olsen in which the actresses discuss the roles that hit too close to home, the secret alchemy of working with directors and how they know when to say “no.”
Keegan: Helen, you recently played gossip columnist Hedda Hopper in “Trumbo.” We’re in the L.A. Times building, which is where she worked. How do you think she would handle an actors roundtable?
Mirren: She’d certainly be wearing a hat … the difference would be that none of us would be relaxed because we would know that we had to obey not just what Hedda was requiring of us, but what our studios were requiring of us. I presume we’re all much, much freer than any of those actresses.
Blanchett: No, I was bought many, many years ago. Cheaply. 50 cents.
Keegan: It seems like there is more of an expectation of actors to share of their personal lives now, perhaps, than there was then. Saoirse, how do you strike that balance between wanting to be able to preserve something for yourself and also share a little bit of who you are?
Ronan: I started when I was very young. Even from the age of 12, the only thing that was important was actually the film, and that was the only thing that I was ever going to talk about. Naturally, as actors, we’re very, very open, we’re very emotional and so it’s easier to kind of be expressive…. But for me it’s important to protect my life outside of work.