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The fairy tale aspect is such a strong part of the story, but it wasn’t when Ronan originally signed on. She came on board before Wright did.
“I thought it would just be an action film. But Joe came on board and suddenly there were all these weird rewrites. Suddenly there were all these bow and arrow fights and a creepy amusement park and everything became much, much weirder and I loved it,” Ronan says.
Wright thought of Hanna as the Little Mermaid, someone who has lived under water her whole life and who is now breaking the surface because she wants to be a real girl. He thought of Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett, the older woman who wants to kill her, as the Wicked Witch. It’s a child’s conception of the world, and it works extraordinarily well in the film.
“It’s a very interesting thing to play with. And that’s why Marissa Wiegler works so well as a villain. When I finally saw her in the film it frightened the life out of me,” says Ronan.
“I think playing those kinds of characters and being in surreal situations and being that weird are the most fun characters to play. I love playing weird people, it’s so much fun. I have never done a film before where we had had so many freaks in one film. ”
But Hanna wants to find a normal life and be a normal teenager, although fate or her abilities have made that impossible. Is this something Ronan can relate to at times? Is there a part of her that would just like to grow up in Carlow and do her leaving certificate and date and do the usual teenage things?
“Yeah of course, being honest, of course. It’s so surreal this kind of thing (publicity campaigns). Most of the time I just do the press junkets and I just accept it,” she says.
“But when I actually think about it, I’ve been talking about things I’ve been involved in, but mainly about myself for the past couple of weeks,” Ronan says.
Family and friends are what grounds her. “I guess sometimes you need to be with people and I love focusing on them. Just take your head out of and have a bit of a break,” she says.
“But at the same time I do feel like this is a part of my life. Certainly Hollywood isn’t and it’s not going to take over or anything. I accept that this is what you have to do.
“It’s nice to go home too. I kind of enjoy both and accept both for what they are.”
Along the way she gets to do fun things like kick the Hulk’s (Eric Bana’s) but in her new film.
“I went on the Ellen show yesterday and that’s exactly what I said to her. Eric is brilliant and a really lovely guy. The majority of the scenes in the film that I had were with him. We did all of our fight choreography together so I got to know him pretty well.”
Ronan is thankful that our interview is a break from the types of questions she’s been asked for the past two weeks.
“You never seem to do this but a lot of journalists in the states ask me, ‘So what are audiences going to expect? What are they going to take away from this experience?’ (Ronan says all this in a flawless American accent).
“Every time I have said, I don’t ‘effing know what they’re going to take away from it. I don’t even know what this film is. You walk in thinking it’s going to be this action tale, and it is. But suddenly it’s also this fairy tale and a thriller and a drama and kind of comedic as well. When I walked away from it I was so excited by it.”
The best part of Hanna is that it has mystery, something in short enough supply in the age of Google.
“It doesn’t really give you an answer at the end and I love that,” says Ronan. “That’s all audiences want now, is an end result where we can feel happy or sad or satisfied in some way, and one of the questions is where does Hanna go from there?”