The Host hits theaters today and we’re back with our junket interview with Saoirse Ronan.
The Oscar nominee takes on the hard task of playing two different characters in the movie and we chatted with her about those challenges, working with Max Irons & Jake Abel, and much more.
Are people surprised when they meet you in person for the first time and hear your accent? Some people still are but a lot of people know I’m Irish now because it’s such a strong accent. I didn’t realize how strong it was but everyone keeps saying to me “wow, you’re really Irish.” After ‘Atonement’ everyone was very shocked. They were very shocked that I was nice and that I was Irish.
Even though you have such a strong accent, you do an American accent really well. How did you learn it? I had a dialect coach. I had done that general American accent quite a bit, it’s the accent I’ve done more than any other. The dialect coach we had was very good. He would keep on top of any sounds that were starting to sound a little Irish. You work on it before hand and really work on the sounds to make them as natural as possible. We had the Louisiana accent as well, that was new, I hadn’t done that before. We were in Baton Rouge & New Orleans so I was surrounded by that accent all the time.
You play two characters in the movie. We read you used a ear piece. Can you elaborate on that? We were trying to figure out how we were going to do it. We pre-recorded Melanie’s VO before we started shooting, it was only the rough voice over for her but it really helped. Then I would wear an earpiece whenever Melanie was going to speak in a scene even if I don’t talk back to her just so I can react to her.
If you could take a piece of Melanie or Wanda away with you, what would you keep? Wanda’s got great posture so I’d do that. With Melanie…I love Melanie’s accent. I think she’s got a great accent. I don’t know if I’d want to give up my own accent…or just her willingness to fight for everything she believes in. She’s such a fighter and I really respect her for that. As a character I respect her…not more than Wanda but I certainly really admire her.
How would you describe Jake Abel & Max Irons in one word? Jake in one word…umm…Jake’s pretty suave. He puts it on I think but he’s really kind of cool and funny…well he’s alright [laughs]. And Max is English.
What was it like wearing those contacts? The contacts were fine. At the start I was really worried that I wasn’t going to be able to really see anyone properly through them because there’s only really a pinhole in the middle. It’s like tunnel vision. You get used to it and your eyes adjust. It can be uncomfortable when they get dry but I was very lucky I had a lens tech who would just drop them in. There was one day we were in New Mexico near the end and I just had to walk across a dune, a very simple shot, just me walking and maybe talking to myself a little bit. Then out of the blue, which happens a lot in the desert, a sandstorm erupts out of nowhere and the sand is just being hurled at my face and i have these lenses in and it’s pretty dangerous. They were alright and they looked freaky.
The concept of perfection is explored a lot in this movie. Do you agree with how it was portrayed in this movie? Sometimes I don’t get that word. I think what’s perfect? It depends on what someone thinks is perfect. I guess so…it’s clean, it’s pure in this film. I guess that’s the point but we see as the film goes on emotionally that really to be like a soul is not perfect. To have that kind of pure, clean soul isn’t perfect. That’s really what a soul is. It’s experience, it’s memories, it’s emotions, it’s all these different things that make us who we are individually but they don’t really have that. I think that’s a very interesting point they raise in the film.
Your parents were on set. How awkward was it when you had your romantic scenes? I don’t like my mom and dad being on set when I’m doing that kind of stuff. Mom is alright but she would usually leave. Dad was only there for one when Max and I were in the desert and it’s near the end. We kiss and I just said to dad, “listen, I know it’s the desert and there’s nowhere to hide but just turn around or something” and he did.
Is there going to be a sequel? I don’t know if we’re going to do a sequel or not. We’ll have to wait and see. I’m really looking forward to reading the next book that Stephene [Meyer] has gone back to work on.
What do you hope viewers walk away from after seeing the film? Hopefully they feel entertained and their money hasn’t been wasted [laughing]. No, I hope that…I mean really the film, the story, the book is about our world, what really makes up our world. What is the human soul? All of that kind of stuff. I think just if they’re asking questions about points that we raised, I think that’s a good sign. And maybe they’ll come out and say “god, why did they kiss so much in the rain.”
Be sure to catch The Host in theaters now!