Saturday 23 March 2019

'She’s the greatest acting talent I’ve ever worked with, and I have worked with everybody' - Brian Dennehy on Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse Ronan in The Seagull
Saoirse Ronan in The Seagull
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Legendary actor Brian Dennehy has heaped huge praise on his The Seagull co-star Saoirse Ronan.

The 80-year-old actor, who has starred in films including Gorky Park, Cocoon, To Catch a Killer, and Romeo + Juliet, and opposite actors including Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett, singled out the 24-year-old Carlow star in an interview with AV Club.

"That kid is on her way to being maybe the biggest star ever in the history of the movies. She is amazing," he said.

He added, "She is easily, easily the most talented actor I have ever worked with, and that’s saying something. She is the most brilliantly talented actor I have ever worked with. She has a gift that is immeasurable. And every time she works, it knocks people out."

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Brian Dennehy and Annette Bening attend
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Brian Dennehy and Annette Bening attend "The Seagull" premiere during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

The actors star opposite Annette Bening and Elizabeth Moss in The Seagull, which is Michael Mayer's big screen adaptation of Chekhov's stage play.  It was filmed in the summer of 2015 and released earlier this year.

Speaking about her role in Atonement, which she filmed when she was just 11, and which earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination, Dennehy said she was "mind-boggling" and that as an actor standing opposite her in a scene "you forget your lines because she is so extraordinary".

Dennehy praised her role choices and the fact that she films the movie, does the awards ceremonies, but then "disappears".  Saoirse was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar this year for role in Lady Bird.  It was her third nomination after a Best Actress nod for Brooklyn in 2016, and Atonement.

"She never has to worry about the kind of material she’s going to be given. She never has to worry about how her career is going, because she’s astounding. Astounding," he continued.

"And also terrific to be around, fun. She’s a nice girl. She’s respectful and friendly. She’s not one of these people who is just, 'I can’t stand the atmosphere. I’ve got to go to the place and be by myself. I’ll be ready when I’m ready.' She doesn’t do any of that s**t. She’s normal and natural and sweet. And then, all of the sudden, she gets in front of a camera and - bing! - she blows the f***in’ wheels off."

He continued, "She’s the only actor - male, female, grown-up, adult - the only one, by a mile, who just dazzles you. The simplicity. Her simplicity. The fact that she always plays against the grain of the scene. I mean, she can be very big. She can be very dramatic and very funny, but whatever she does - whatever she f***in’ does - surprises you."

Dennehy also hailed Saoirse as an "incredible talent", adding, "She’s the greatest acting talent I’ve ever worked with, and I have worked with everybody. I’ve worked with great actors. And she’s a great actor, but there’s something else there. There’s something else going on with her. I don’t know what it is, but she’s got these eyes that look like they’re 10,000 years old and have seen everything."

He clarified that he did not mean she looks old but that she "understands things" and concluded by saying, "As far as I’m concerned, there’s her, and then there’s other people. She’s in a class by herself, literally."

Read more: The (very) early frontrunners for Oscars 2019

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