Saoirse Ronan has revealed she will not be playing the woodland elf Itaril in The Hobbit. Ronan had been in serious talks to star in The Lord Of The Rings prequel, which will once again be directed by Peter Jackson, but instead has signed up to star in The Host.

Saoirse revealed: "It's probably not going to work out with The Hobbit unfortunately. Because I would have been working for about a year on it and there were other projects that I was very interested in, but Pete has been very good about it and very understanding. I'll have to just go back down to New Zealand for a holiday and hang out with the hobbits."

Ronan worked with Jackson on The Lovely Bones and is currently starring with Eric Banna and Cate Blanchett in director Joe Wright's new action film Hanna, about a teenage girl who has been raised as a highly skilled assassin tracking down the woman who killed her mother.

The 17-year-old Irish actress said she didn't relate to Hanna's isolated life, but to her journey of self-discovery.

"I don't feel isolated on a film set. In a way you do because you don't really mix with the outside world you're just sort of working non-stop for a few months but you've got so many people around you," Ronan told the press.

"But one thing that I did find I identified with was the journey that she goes through. It's very similar to what a teenager would go through around my age. I turned 16 when I made the film and I feel like her journey is very much about growing up and finally breaking away from home."