Coverage by Nobuhiro Hosoki
Story : Raised by her father (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA man, in the wilds of Finland, Hanna’s upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one; sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe while eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own (Cate Blanchett
Opened April 8, 2011
Runtime:1 hr. 51 min.
Interview with Saoirse Ronan
(Q) : Joe Wright said that you were the one that thought of him for this. Considering the other movie you worked with him on was nothing like this at all what made you kind of make that jump and say “I think Joe could do this film”?
(Saoirse Ronan) : I don’t know, really. I think a lot of it was to do with the fact that we had worked together before, and it was about four years ago maybe, maybe five now, which is really scary. But we had always had a great relationship. I guess I just had the belief in him that he could put his hand to whatever and make it something really interesting and make it his own. I guess I thought it would be interesting to have a director involved who hadn’t done action before because it would be a new, fresh take on it. And mainly really just because I like working with him. I enjoy it.
(Q) : When Eric was in here earlier he said he hadn’t seen the finished film yet, the final cut. What about you? Did Joe ever show you any dailies or rushes or are you the type of actor who doesn’t want to see the film in bits and pieces but you want to see it when it’s completely finished? How do fell about all of that?
(Saoirse Ronan) : I don’t look at rushes; I don’t go to the dailies. I don’t even really look at playback. Well I haven’t so far unless it’s an action scene or a move that I would need to do better; something like that. But besides that I won’t really look at any of the footage that we’ve shot. It’s quite nice to wait until it’s completely finished and see it completed with music and editing and sound and the right takes and things like that. I mean I saw bits and pieces when I was doing ADR and doing a little bit of post on it, but besides that I didn’t see anything. I think I’ve seen the final cut. It was cool.
(Q) : Because you’ve read the script you know more about Hanna than the audience does. We don’t find out her true nature until the end. Do you worry about tipping the audience off or do you just go into it and you’ll figure it out?
(Saoirse Ronan) : I think people are smart enough to figure it out. It’s something that definitely shouldn’t be revealed too early. It’s the reason for everything being the way it is and her being in the situation she’s in and really even the way she is as a person. I mean she was bred to be a super soldier and one who maybe doesn’t feel as much pain or can endure a little bit more, and I think it’s good that it’s closer to the end that we figure that out. But there are little surprises along the way, even with Marissa, even with Eric and his relationship to Hanna.
(Q): Could you talk about the training? Did you get into any kind of serious training?
(Saoirse Ronan) : I did, yeah. I started to train a couple months before we began shooting. I worked out in the gym about two hours every day and just worked on all different types of muscles. My arms, my legs, my abs, my back, my neck; everything. And I thought well how is this actually going to make a difference, but it really did because I felt after a few weeks of doing quite intense training I was walking differently and I was holding myself differently. A lot of martial arts are actually to do with your core, and that started to feel a lot stronger too.
I think it helped me to get into the character a little bit more. And then I did martial arts as well. I would do that for about two hours every day. And the style of fighting we used in the film was designed specifically for the character of Hanna based on strength and what kind of training she would have gone through since she was young, the type of people she’s fighting. But it was great fun though and it is quite empowering when you do something like that. You feel like you can look after yourself a little bit more.
(Q) : We asked Joe earlier he had any concerns about having you fight with adult men. He said he was more worried about Eric.
(Saoirse Ronan) : Well Eric’s done that kind of stuff before I think, but I guess he hasn’t fought a girl, so that was probably new.
(Q) : Did you have any worries at all?
(Saoirse Ronan) : Yeah, I was worried I was going to hurt someone. I didn’t want to do that and I didn’t want to be hurt myself, obviously as well. You do have that fear. Sometimes I think before someone actually pushes you it can hold you back, the fear of being put through pain or being hit or being in danger or something like that. But we were lucky because we had a great stunt team, which was led by Jeff Imada, and I always felt safe. I never felt like I was doing anything out of my comfort zone, or maybe only slightly.
(Q) : Your scenes with Jessica are great because the characters are such total opposites. How did you two work?
(Saoirse Ronan) : Well Jess and I had a great time together. We got on from the off really; she’s lovely. She’s a bit like that; she’s a little bit like Sophie, in the nicest possible way. She’s very charming and she just keeps talking all the time, always coming up with something to say, and I love that. And we bonded over Lady Gaga. We’re both into her music so we used to listen to that a lot. I think it’s good to have that kind of comic relief really and to have a character that’s so completely different to Hanna. And they develop a relationship together, probably the most special one in the film.
(Q): We previously saw you here in the US in “The Way Back,” which was probably another physically demanding role for you. Can you compare and contrast the physical demands you had for “The Way Back” versus “Hanna,” and if you could give us a timeline of which movie you shot first?
(Saoirse Ronan) : Well I shot “The Way Back” first, and it was about two years ago. It’s funny actually, because we shot quite a bit of it in Morocco in the Sahara Desert. We shot in Ouarzazate, all these sorts of places, and Ouarzazate is basically the Moroccan Hollywood, so I thought after I finished that film “Okay, I’m never going back there again, or I won’t be there for another few years. That’s fine; I don’t have to deal with that kind of heat again for a while.” And then I’m invited back exactly a year later, I stay in the same hotel; I work with the same people in the same place.
It was great. The type of physical activity in “The Way Back” versus “Hanna” they were very, very different. A lot of it was basically walking and having to endure on the way back, whereas “Hanna,” a lot of it was to deal with fighting and physical choreography and weapons training as well, so there was a lot more to think about I guess. But we did have to deal with the same weather conditions and it was still a stretch for all of us because none of us were used to that kind of heat or on the other hand cold when we were in Finland. But they were all beautiful places.
(Q) : Before you go could you talk about the next project you’re working on, “The Hobbit,” a little bit?
(Saoirse Ronan) : Oh well I’m not actually confirmed to do “The Hobbit.” But they did start a few weeks ago I think, so that’s good. Everyone’s very excited. But I did a film last year called “Violet & Daisy,” and that’s about two teenage assassins as well, but I promise it’s completely different. It’s a comedy, well like a black comedy, and it’s set in New York City. But that should be out some time this year.