Saoirse Ronan worries about how Brexit will hurt Northern Ireland

Los Angeles premiere of 'Can't Stop, Won't Stop: The Bad Boy Story'

Saoirse Ronan covers the February issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, in what could possibly be the last push for Mary Queen of Scots’ Oscar campaign. The film hasn’t done much during the awards season, but you can tell that Margot Robbie and Saoirse are proud of the film. Anyway, this photoshoot is gorgeous – I never would have imagined that Ronan would look THIS amazing with bright red lips, but here we are. Her face, to me, is timeless. The interview is pretty good too – you can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

She has dual Irish and American citizenship: It’s clear that the political situation in both countries exasperates her. She’s vocal about her fear that Brexit’s effect on the Irish border will revive past divisions. ‘I was watching RTE news and they were talking about the border – and it’s such a feckin’ mess. One of my best friends, Eileen [O’Higgins, the actress, who she met on the set of the film Brooklyn], is from Down, in Northern Ireland; even I didn’t fully appreciate what the reality of it was.’ Ronan mentions a television series she’s been watching, Derry Girls, a Northern Irish sitcom set in the early 1990s, before the Good Friday Agreement made peace possible. ‘Derry Girls handles the situation so brilliantly with humour; you have the girls going, “Och, there’s a bomb on the bridge and I can’t get my nails done now!” And I asked Eileen if that’s what it was really like – soldiers coming on the bus? She said, “Yes, yes it was.” And I think no matter what side you’re on in the North, nobody wants to go back to that.’

Her flawless American accent: ‘It’s how I get into the character. What can be more difficult than the actual sounds is the cadence and melody. Modern American is much flatter than my natural voice. I found that quite a challenge on Lady Bird. Greta [Gerwig, the director] kept having to say, “Make it a bit flatter!” And I’d think I sounded like a robot. With the Scottish I’m basically speaking the same way. The rhythm and music are the same.’

There’s a menstruation scene in Queen of Scots, one of the few since Carrie: ‘What’s genius about Carrie is that it shows what it feels like when you have your period for the first time. When I watched it as a teen with my mam, I’d already had my period for a few years, but if I hadn’t known what it was, I’d have thought I was dying. And that’s why it needs to be talked about.’

Women’s movies versus films for everybody: ‘With Lady Bird, the amount of guys who would come up to me – and I had it with Brooklyn as well – and be like, “I’m not usually into films like that, but ah… I really liked that, and I even cried a little bit because I loved it so much”. And I’m like,“What kind of films do you mean?” Of course, they mean female-led movies. But the thing is, whether there’s a girl or a boy leading it, Lady Bird is about someone preparing to leave home. That’s it. And the more specific you can make it to one person’s experience, the more universal it will be.’

Her mom protected her in the early days of her career: ‘I don’t know what would have happened if she hadn’t been around. I’m sure I would have been exposed to that quite a bit, but she just protected me from all that. I wasn’t unaware that there were people in the industry who abused their power, or who were seedy or untrustworthy. But because of her I was never a victim and I’m very, very thankful. I didn’t leave home at 19 all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed – I hadn’t been wrapped in cotton wool – but I had been protected.’

[From Harper’s Bazaar UK]

I laughed when she talked about the Carrie-period scene being good because that’s how it feels when you get your period the first time. What kind of terrible first period did Saoirse have??! I sort of get what she’s saying though, and I agree, more TV shows and films should do a better job of representing menstruation. As for Brexit and Northern Ireland… Brexit will have long-term effects with the Good Friday Accord, and with the Scottish Independence movement. I honestly believe that the next time Scotland takes a vote on independence – post-Brexit – the Scottish people will vote to Scexit from the UK.

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“I don’t know what would have happened if she hadn’t been around. I’m sure I would have been exposed to that [abusive behaviour] quite a bit, but she just protected me from all that. I wasn’t unaware that there were people in the industry who abused their power, or who were seedy or untrustworthy. But because of her I was never a victim and I’m very, very thankful. I didn’t leave home at 19 all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed – I hadn’t been wrapped in cotton wool – but I had been protected.” Saoirse Ronan discusses her ”mam”, Monica Ronan, and #MeToo, in the February issue of #HarpersBazaar (📷 Saoirse wears @gucci, photographed by @erikmadiganheck) #FebruaryIssue #SaoirseRonan

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Cover and Instagram courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK.

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38 Responses to “Saoirse Ronan worries about how Brexit will hurt Northern Ireland”

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  1. KEEKS says:

    I think it’s disappointing that neither of my neighbourhood cinemas showed Mary Queen of Scots or the Favourite. Two excellent films with strong women, as opposed to what? It’s telling where we still are today. Shame on you Cineplex.

    • Jan90067 says:

      Those are two of my favorites this season. Then again, i LOVE period pieces, and the costumes!!!! Coupled with fantastic acting,just my cuppa! 😊.

      Saoirse looks gorgeous, ethereal almost. She really grew into a beautiful woman with amazing talent.

    • Jerusha says:

      Same here. We have two multis in town, a 16 screen and an 18 screen, and they show the exact same movies-mostly the crap ones. We have a small 100 seat theatre downtown and it used to show a different indie film every week. I went every time, whether I knew anything about the film or not and was usually delighted. But, in order to survive, for the past year they frequently show films that play at the multis. For instance, Mary Poppins has been there for two weeks and has another week to go. Very frustrating. So I depend on dvds mostly to see films.

    • Famika says:

      One of the BEST Actresses of her generation. IMO

  2. Veronica S. says:

    Considering it’s looking more and more like a no-deal exit is what’s going to happen, you could probably shorten the sentence to, “I’m worried about Brexit.” Because honestly, the whole region should be.

    • Babadook says:

      We ARE all worried in the Republic of Ireland about Brexit generally. However, N. I. is obviously our main concern because it’s impacting us at home essentially. It’s a potential hard border on our island, and not one that everyone on the Northern side of that border wants. Whatever about Brexit in general, from an Irish POV that is truly the most pressing and personal issue.

      • Veronica S. says:

        The Irish populations get it, I agree. I’ve talked to a shocking amount of Americans and even some conservative UKers, though, that don’t seem to understand what a big deal this is going to be. There’s an alarming amount of people who seemed to support this without realizing how hard it’s going to make life for people in Scotland and Ireland. That’s what concerns me.

      • Pandy says:

        unite Ireland!

  3. savu says:

    That period scene in Mary Queen of Scots is kind of awesome, all these maids are cleaning her legs. I want maids to clean my legs! 😂 Granted I’ve always loved the story, but the movie was really good. I’ve yet to see her in a role where she doesn’t totally suck me in.

  4. Duchess of Hazard says:

    Alas, no one over 50 years cares about the union and Brexit, the mangy tossers. Westminster has shown that it cannot be trusted. I can’t blame Scotland and Wales for peeling off at all. The selfishness and fecklessness from both May and Corbyn have been shocking.

    • Veronica says:

      Corbyn, I agree with. I’ll give that I think Theresa May is (was?) legitimately trying to get something done. She’s just horribly misguided in her delusions that the EU can afford to go soft on them in negotiations. If you wanted EU benefits, you stay in the damn EU.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        ITA – she’s trying but is failing as she should have brought in a proper negotiator from the get go.

        As for Corbyn, he’s a wimpy joke and has made the opposition a whimpy joke as well. Am not sure if Labour can recover from the damage him and his commie acolytes are inflicting.

    • Alyse says:

      Wales actually voted to leave Europe, Scotland voted to remain. I think Wales will remain with England, Scotland however will no doubt choose independence next time.

  5. Jemimaleopard says:

    Ugh Brexit is a mess. I live in Northern Ireland and pretty close to the border, and it’s gona go back to the bad old days HOWEVER… watch Derry Girls if you haven’t already – it’s on Netflix and is laugh out loud funny!!!

    • Dee Kay says:

      Derry Girls is THE BEST!!!! I rec it to everyone I know!!!!!!!! I cannot wait for season 2!!!!!!!!

      • Heat says:

        Omg, Derry Girls was so freaking funny. Those 6 episodes flew by so fast. Everyone should watch!

    • Purgatory says:

      DERRY GIRLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AMAZING SHOW! I immediately watched it five times in a row, not kidding. I can NOT get enough. It is so fresh and funny and such a great way to show people what the F*CK it means to have a solid border:

      It is a stupid, foolish, dangerous, and dare I say again, STUPID decision that will absolutely fail, as it has every single time. It always has, always will. Walls were great in the year 3700 bce when we didn’t have the ability to, oh, I dunno, literally fly? Oh wait, wait, wait….No. Walls sucked then, too. Because we have these things called LADDERS! Holy god. I just want to stab people in the face with breadsticks until they just shut up and stop ruining things by trying to participate.

  6. Agirlandherdog says:

    My husband and I were in Ireland in April, and we took a day trip to Belfast in Northern Ireland. We took a taxi tour thru the city, and our driver was a former member of the IRA. It was such an eye opener for me. I’ve never been in a segregated area before. I mean I’ve lived in a large city where cultural neighborhoods formed, but I’ve never been anywhere that was segregated by a wall. It was absolutely fascinating and demoralizing all at the same time. We spoke with our guide about the implications of Brexit, and I got the sense that no one really knew what the hell was going to happen and didn’t really want to dwell on it because it was just too disheartening. Kind of how I feel living in the current American political climate.

  7. manta says:

    I love her as an actress (Hanna, Byzantium, The way back, Brooklyn) but even her won’t make me watch this one. Vanessa Redgrave is my definite Mary Queen of Scots.
    I’m surprised that no journo ever asks her or Robbie about their thoughts on Redgrave and Jackson’s takes on the parts.

  8. kellybean says:

    She’s stunning.

  9. aang says:

    Derry Girls is so funny. I don’t know why the world just accepts the continued colonization of the north of Ireland like it is no big deal. Maybe because the Irish are white and now speak the language of their oppressors and the English have been there for so long we see it as a political problem instead of an issue of outright colonization. Much of he Native American community sees the IRA as freedom fighters and as a kid people around me spoke admiringly of the Irish fighters during the troubles. I consider terrorism against civilians to be a horrific crime but can sympathize with the goal of a united country under an Irish government.

    • Babadook says:

      You’re speaking my language girl! I’m from (the Republic) of Ireland and the sheer volume of atrocities we suffered under the British is just not acknowledged by the rest of the world – partly because they’re not taught about it. The amount of Americans in particular who think I’m from the U. K. for example is astounding and infuriating. There’s also a heavy level of post-colonial oppression here that often manifests itself in us either pushing down our Irish identities or embracing the lepruchan stereotype – it often feels like to be Irish is to be embarrassed of being Irish unless it’s of a trait that other countries deem acceptable. I have no doubt that this is a leftover of years of being stripped of our identity, language and culture. I also think this manifests in our attitude towards N. I. – because its become so accepted in the world to just not acknowledge it, it’s almost seen as cringey here to speak up about it (love that post colonial hangover!)

      For what it’s worth, I do think people undermine what we’ve suffered due to our whiteness. Of course, I’m not denying white privilege exists, but I often hear Americans say “white Europeans” talking about the colonisers in the past which completely disregards our history both recent and further back. As an Irish person, I’ve always identified more with communities that have suffered terribly at the hands of colonisers – like Native Americans. My father loves to tell a story about how Native tribes sent us maize during The Famine in the 1800s (caused by the British) – because we have a mutual understanding of what it was like to suffer under the hand of a larger oppressor.

      Whew! All that to say, thanks for your comment. It was nice to be seen!

      • Veronica S. says:

        Those of us who were American 90s kids should know better, honestly. The IRA bombings, the hunger strikes, the border battles – that was all over the media when I was a kid. I certainly didn’t forget about it, and I remember plenty of films from that era discussing the issue. (I mean, c’mon, “The Crying Game” was a HUGE movie of that era, both for its political and social commentary.) America just has a habit of erasing history that doesn’t fit into neat little ideological boxes.

      • Aang says:

        Babadook I’ve been in love with Ireland since first reading Roddy Doyle in the early 90’s. The expressiveness of Irish English makes me both lol and weep, often at the same time. Spent a summer there in college and am visiting again next month. I took Irish language classes with my son for a few years, both my kids fiddle and my daughter is a champion level Irish dancer. We belong to our local Comhaltas branch and are active in Irish arts community in our city. I identify as Native American but I have an ancestor that came to US from Ireland in the 1700’s. I’ve always seen a parallel between the two cultures via their experience of colonization. I really admire how the Irish have held onto and exported their culture in the face of oppression. Although we don’t look like your typical Irish Americans and have no connection to the island we have been welcomed by the community and they are happy to share the culture and language with anyone willing to learn. I wish the native community was as open. It might help in reviving the language and the culture if they would take advantage of interest and talent from outside the community.

      • DS9 says:

        And yet so many of the Irish who came over to America were colonizers in return.

        Irish folks also often took work as overseers, slave patrollers, and other jobs that became part of the American law enforcement culture that still hurts and damages people of color in America.

        The Irish were hurt and harmed irreparably by the English and continue to be. But I don’t think you can neatly separate them from White Supremacy in America. And we haven’t even gotten to the pervasive myth that the Irish were treated as badly or worse than American slaves and other blacks.

      • Alyse Leitao says:

        Interesting to note that in New Zealand (where I’m from) We studied The Irish Troubles as a topic in 5th Form History (this would’ve been in 2005)

        So some places do learn about it!!!
        When I was in Belfast doing a black cab tour, my guides were very surprised but pleased to hear about this 🙂

        People who think there’s no racism within white culture are wrong… look at the treatment of Ireland and Scotland by the English and you’ll see that
        (also towards Slavic people etc … basically people love an excuse to feel superior to another group based on no real merit of their own, but a self-created myth of superiority. Race, class, gender, sexuality… )

    • Alyse says:

      Where are you from? It’s not that simple. The British Govt would leave Northern Ireland but the Protestants in Ireland don’t want them to go. Those people are Northern Irish, not British. The best thing for NI and for Britain would be for NI and Ireland to become unified but there’s many people within NI who don’t want that to happen.

      • Rosie says:

        I remember being told (by someone who spent time in Derry during the troubles) that the IRA were bad but if the table were turned the Loyalists would be a whole lot worse. I read somewhere last week that the protestants are increasingly becoming the minority in NI, sadly it only takes a few extremists to create hell.

      • Alyse Leitao says:

        Also, Hi other Celebitchy Alyse 🙂

        Super rare for me to see other people with our spelling!!

      • grumpy says:

        I think there are even Catholics in NI who don’t necessarily want to be part of the Republic and there are people in the Republic who don’t want NI to be part of it. Nothing is ever black and white or that simple. It is dangerous to assume who wants what.
        What 99.99999% of us in the Uk and Republic of Ireland definitely want is to live in peace.

      • Miffy says:

        You’re right it’s not that simple at all and this person has no clue what they’re talking about. NI is essentially its own country now, it operates independently of England or Ireland and neither country could absorb it as an extension of itself at all, Ireland couldn’t afford it (our economy is fucked as it is) and England has no idea how to support its existing infrastructures.

      • Lisa says:

        A lot of the reasons why middle class Catholics are ok with being part of the UK is the Good Friday Agreement which is currently being chucked out the window.

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Political distress, civilian trauma, global terrorism, corporate espionage….all of it, all the time, and makes me so angry. When I think of Scotland, Ireland, Britain…well they’re romanticized in my mind. The extensive histories and gorgeous landscapes. It’s just awful what we do to each other. Everywhere. I realize my dreaming makes me sound ridiculously naive. It’s incredibly disheartening.

    Reality aside, I’ve seen Ronan in a few things, and hands down, she’s an extremely talented and serious actor. Each viewing has drawn me in and made me forget the individual actors. And she’s grown into a stunning beauty.

  11. Cee says:

    Could someone give some context to the the Northern-Ireland/Brexit situation?

    • Rosie says:

      On a simple level, it’s to do with borders. At the moment the border between North Irl & the Republic is non existent. People and goods can travel freely. If UK is out of the EU customs union goods/people travelling between NI (UK) and Republic (Europe) would have to go through a border. This is contrary to the Good Friday agreement which promised there would be no border between the two. If there is a border it will upset the republicans and could lead to a return to violence. Another option would be a customs border between mainland Uk and Ireland including NI. This is unacceptable to the Loyalists/Protestants because they see this as a step towards unification, who knows what they’ll do if they don’t get their way. The Irish back stop is supposedly a potential solution but nobody I know understands it. If anyone here can explain THAT I’d be forever in your debt!!

    • hogtowngooner says:

      The island of Ireland was split between the Republic of Ireland, which became its own country and Northern Ireland, which remained part of the United Kingdom, in 1922. While the Republic was largely Catholic, Northern Ireland had a slim Protestant majority (which wanted to stay in the UK) and a large Catholic minority (which wanted to reunite with the Republic of Ireland). That’s the key difference between the two communities.

      Unsurprisingly, there were constant conflicts between the two groups, culminating in 1969, the start of the 30-year conflict known as the Troubles. During this time, the border between the UK and ROI, which was in a heavily Catholic region of NI, was patrolled by the British Army, which was incredibly provocative to the community. The IRA was very active along the border during this time, killing soldiers, blowing up barracks, etc to force the “Brits out”. The Troubles largely ended in 1998 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) by the main Northern Irish parties (from both sides), and the two governments of Ireland and the UK.

      One of the terms of the GFA specified the removal of a “hard” border in Ireland to separate the two countries, allowing free movement across Ireland. Since both countries were EU members and the violence was dwindling in the face of the peace process, this was a doable thing. Now that the UK is leaving the EU, it has raised the question of what to do with the border, since this is only physical barrier between the UK and the EU. The GFA also stipulated that any change to the Irish border required the Irish government’s approval, which is why they’re involved. Due to the tense relationship between the two countries, the Irish haven’t felt the need to make things easier for their former colonizers.

      Another wrinkle in this is that while the majority of NI’s population voted to remain, the DUP, the main Protestant party, is currently propping up May’s government after the disastrous last election where her power base shrunk. May will want to keep them happy to stay in power, which means implementing some hard border tactics. On the other side, there are a number of so-called republican (Catholic) “dissidents” who never accepted the Good Friday Agreement (breaking away from the main Catholic parties), and have vowed to use violence should anything go up on the border. Basically, they’ve promised violence, which could plunge the entire region back to the Troubles.

  12. Cal says:

    Bazaar magazine shot itself in the foot by picturing Ronan, a famously *Irish* actress, on a cover yelling ‘The Spirit of Great Britain’.
    Unforgivably crass misstep.

  13. Lisa says:

    Fed up of it being called the Irish border when it is a border imposed by the British. The border is 310 miles long, goes thru people’s houses and is basically impossible to police.

    NI doesn’t have a functioning executive at the moment because the DUP won’t go into power with the Catholics who won almost as many seats as the Unionists did, due to even protestants finding it hard to vote for the DUP, the party involved in the RHI scandal (where did that £500 million pounds go?). Also Irish people in the north were promised an Irish language act and the DUP are refusing point blank to negotiate this. Due to this and the fact Sinn Fein don’t take their seats in parliament there is no one in power speaking for the NI people who want to remain.

    Also to complicate things further the DUP spent hundreds of thousands on pro Brexit media ads in England. Where did the money come from? We don’t know and the courts in England have said we’re not allowed to know either. Which, given the recent revelations about how the Leave campaign broke election law by overspending, stinks to high heaven of corruption, doesn’t it? Not to mention one of their members of parliament being suspended for taking money from a foreign government. (This is the same guy who was on TV yesterday who said that he told the Prime Minister to make him a cup of tea and that he had given her precise instructions on what to do re Brexit).

    You mention republican dissident violence? I suggest you look up Belfast City Hall flag protests where Belfast City Council voted to fly the British flag for the same amount of days as British councils did and the Unionist community went beserk, rioting, etc. In what is allegedly peace time.

    The DUP want to be the same as the rest of the United Kingdom. They don’t want a customs border down the sea between Ireland and England. However they won’t accept a change in NI law for abortions or gay rights to bring it in line with UK law. Hypocritical fuckwits. They say they don’t want a hard border but they really do.

    I further wouldn’t blame Ireland for the tense relationship between the two countries as due to the UK’s nebulous intentions and bad behaviour, their relationship with all EU countries is fairly tense at the moment. Ireland does a lot of trade with the UK and can’t afford to have tension with the UK and has tried to accommodate them. For example, the Irish government does have a say in what goes on in Northern Ireland but never exercises that right to keep the peace.