Actor Saoirse Ronan is frequently called upon to portray a kid with “very adult challenges”. Lensed by Steven Meisel for Vogue US December in ‘The Cult of Beauty’, her Irish DNA is expressed as a pre-Raphaelite maiden.
In Atonement, for which she earned an Academy Award nomination, she played 13-year-old Briony Tallis, whose rape allegation dooms the love affair between Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. In Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones, she was 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who narrates her own murder investigation from beyond the grave. Yet to Ronan’s surprise, she found some childlike elements in the character of Hanna. “At first I thought, This is going to be a badass kid,” says the Irish actress. “But she turned into something else, which was actually quite innocent.” Although Hanna is very much an action movie (set to a thumping Chemical Brothers score), it’s also a coming-of-age story, to which Ronan can relate. “I’m still figuring out who I am,” she told W Magazine earlier this year.