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We know the gist of the story. A 14 year old girl trained by her father to be a lethal killing machine. This brings to mind Le Femme Nikita, The professional and No return. With a string of successful CIA movies and the latest real life espionage saga, there’s no doubt that this movie will be successful. More importantly it will be different, like the arrival of Bourne; we have a new unexpected likeable, lethal component called Hanna. Actress, Saoirse Ronan and Director, Joe Wright discuss Hanna’s naivety which is her curse, tempered by her ability to be unbiased which is her strength. Saoirse talks about being able to relate to Hanna and her father’s support in rehearsing her trade, to some degree, was similar to her onscreen father. Saoirse is asked what similarities there are to her Character and a regular teenage girl’s experiences.
Saoirse Ronan: Yeah I think there are. It’s a slightly different setting but the situation is basically the same. She’s lived in isolation for first 15 years of her life. She’s only ever been with one person and that’s her father and now she’s really yearning to go out into the world and discover it and meet new people and learn what it’s all about and what everyone’s been going on about, you know and I think every teenager can relate to that, I relate to that. All my friends do it and even though I travel all over the world, there’s still things that I long for and she does as well. I think teenagers will be able to relate in that way, certainly.
Interviewer: coming of age story
Saoirse Ronan: In a way, yeah
Interviewer: Hanna spent her time in Finland most of her life. How does her relationship develop with the world when she leaves, since most of her knowledge is textbook? How did, uh, Joe did you show it in the film?
Joe Wright: it’s very subjective film making from Hanna’s point of view ah, in a way that was really a part from the challenge, technical challenge of the action. Stories about character, a person who’s drawn, ET are also one of those stories. It’s a kind of character who has never been to the earth before and or into civilization before and then how they perceive the world. Hanna can give us sort of a fresh alternative view of her own circumstances… She hasn’t been taught to judge things. She doesn’t know what is beautiful and what is ugly. She doesn’t even know what is good and what is bad. She views things with a totally, ah open heart and doesn’t judge and I think that is one of the things I loved most about the character. There is no such thing as beauty or ugliness in her world it all just is. [AO Comment: The cast is asked about the physical challenges during the course of the movie other than what has been discussed.]
Eric Bana: There’s a fairly wide gamut, physically we started filming in Finland in winter, it was minus 26 Celsius…we had fight scenes in that location. And then we went physically to Bavaria and Berlin and these guys ended up in Caracas. I think that the temperature span of the film was like 70 degrees or something ridiculous. So physically quite all over the place. So there were a lot of physical elements that were very unique to this film. One of the exciting parts was Joes take on a really original story you know on the whole theory aspect , the loss of innocents and all that sort of stuff, that was unique and just the relationship between Saoirse and my character. We were very aware that if it doesn’t work in the beginning of the film, we were kind of doomed so it’s kind of a lot of pressure there doesn’t give a whole lot of time to establish the two characters in this kind of wilderness setting and there’s not a whole lot of dialogue so that was kind of unique and fun.
Saoirse Ronan: Yeah the physical aspect was very tough, but it was very rewarding though. I trained a couple of months before hand to see if that would pay off which was great, But I think there’s always challenges and probably not all of them I could list right now. When you go in a film set for me anyway everyday is a challenge, there should be a challenge. Well one of the biggest things for me was I think was playing someone like Joe said really didn’t know the difference between beautiful and ugly and good and bad and these opposites that are so strong in our mind now a days. That’s what makes her so beautiful, makes her soul so beautiful is that she’s that innocent so that was something that I needed to have in my heart when I was playing her, so hopefully it comes out that way.
Interviewer: Growing up with an actor father, Albert, so someone growing up someone training you in their craft, did that help inform you or prepare you for this role?
Saoirse Ronan: Uhm, well yeah I think my dad helps me with every role that I play… I wouldn’t say that like Eric and Hanna he trained me to be an actor or anything like that, certainly I think it was in his mind since I was young that I had this sort of performers’ blood. [AO Comment: Saoirse explains how she has an advantage in that her father who knows the ropes and who she trusts helps her with auditions and helps her practice her lines. She goes on to talk about her father being a black belt in Karate and his welcomed support during her training sessions for the fight scenes.]
Saoirse Ronan: It’s really wonderful, it’s almost like having a manager in the house that really cares for me and doesn’t have an ulterior motive. [AO Comment: As the interview comes to a close, the cast discuss Cate Blanchett’s role and how they admire her and enjoyed acting with her, but not before jokingly bashing her regarding her contribution to the film.]
Eric Bana: She brings the film down to be honest. (Laughter)
Saoirse Ronan: It was going great, great actors’ great performances and then Cate comes along.
Eric Bana: She’s not here to defend herself (Laughter).