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Brian Dennehy, President of Saoirse Ronan's Fan Club

by Nathaniel R

No offense intended to the actual president of Saoirse Ronan's fan club (do fan clubs still exist?) but Brian Dennehy, who has been onscreen for my entire moviegoing life, is taking over. He just loves her. Since we love it when actors express non-generic a publicist could have written this admiration for other actors, we must share.

Dennehy was interviewed for The AV Club's fun series "Random Roles" in which they ask famous actors about specific roles in their careers without revealing beforehand which roles they'll be discussing. For Dennehy, it's an eclectic mix including Death of a Salesman (for which he won a Golden Globe), Rambo, Romeo + Juliet, Tommy Boy, She Hate Me, and more. When they get to The Seagull (2018), Dennehy just goes off on his admiration for three-time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan.

He says...

She’s mind-boggling. I mean, you stand there, and you’re in a scene with her, and you better pay attention because your mouth is going to be standing there hanging open. You forget your lines because she’s so extraordinary. She’s really been smart, and the people around her have been very smart about her career. She comes out and she makes a picture, it comes out, there’s this huge critical reception to what she does and awards and all this other stuff, and the picture usually does very well, but then boom—she disappears. She gets out of the way.

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. 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 shit. 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 fuckin’ wheels off.

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 fuckin’ does—surprises you.

She’s just an incredible talent. 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. That’s does not mean that she looks old; I don’t mean that. I mean she understands things, and her talent is such that she can take the scene, take the words, take the environment, the other actors, take the furniture, and make it all into one seamless reality that is profound. There’s a deep, profound reality coming out of her eyes. As far as I’m concerned, there’s her, and then there’s other people. She’s in a class by herself, literally.

This is making me feel so guilty that I haven't seen On Chesil Beach or The Seagull yet and with Mary Queen of Scots right around the corner, I'm going to be three movies behind soon! Apologies Saoirse. I love you, too! It's not just Dennehy.

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Reader Comments (20)

She is really good in The Seagull, It's just that Annette overshadows everyone in the cast.

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Ironic he said this after working with her on The Seagull. It's one of her weaker performances.

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJess

I too love when actors talk about others but not this is the greatest. So rarely do I see actors go this in depth on another’s Talent. I’ve seen her 2018 output avd while I was disappointed in the film her work was good but nothing magibificebt when you think of the rest of her career. I look forward to what her career promises because rarely does a child actress transition into a great adult actress avd the fact she’s been nominated as both is wonderful.

It’s especially great as a fellow Irish person that someone from our country could be so wonderful.

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEoin Daly

The actress of her generation.

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

The breadth of her work really is astounding. Just look at her Oscar-nominated roles: Atonement, Brooklyn, Lady Bird. Three VERY different roles performed miraculously - and also from different parts of the globe. She's just terrific. And she's only in her early 20s. Damn.

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

I 2nd that vote just as long as he can get Greta Gerwig to help run the fan club.

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Still p'd off she lost to Larson.Call her the new Kate Winslet,Awards bodies love her already as they did with Kate.

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I was most impressed with her when she hosted Saturday Night Live. She was consistently great and committed in EVERY sketch she was one, including the really silly ones.

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJakey

Saoirse is my favorite actress of this generation. Her performance in Brooklys is one of my all-time favorites. I hope she'll be recognized by Oscar soon, and amass a sizeable number of nominations!

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I remember Carey Mulligan in a NYT video talking about her performance in Atonement as the best of the decade. She mentioned her eyes as well.
Saoirse is great. I've been a fan since Atonement too and I'm happy she's turning these great, different performances and getting recognized for it.

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLucky

Wow. I've never seen an actor be this effusive in their praise and love for another actor; it's incredibly rare to see.

I think he's absolutely right of course.

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

I could not agree with him more.

October 2, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRdf

markgordonuk: Still can"t believe Brie swept the season. She was terrific in Room but Ronan was AMAZING in Brooklyn. Room was Tremblay's movie in the same way Brooklyn was Ronan's.

October 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

And now is the perfect time to remind everyone that Saoirse Ronan should already have THREE Oscars. The Academy owes her big time.

October 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

She took my breath away in On Chesil Beach - exactly as I've envisioned the character when I first read the book.

October 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJans

Condragulations Brian Dennehy, you are the winner of this week’s challenge.

October 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKirk

I'm tearing up just being reminded of Brooklyn and her performance. So good.

October 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

That 2015 Best Actress race was really close. But here's my ranking:

1. Rampling

2. Ronan

3. Blanchett

4. Larson

5. Lawrence (I'm not a big Jennifer fan but I like this performance a lot. I would still swap her out for Vikander in Ex Machina)

October 3, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

LOL. Is he talking about Mary the mother of Jesus? Hyper meet bole.

October 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJono

Love Saoirse (I think she's flat-out brilliant in Lady Bird) - but I'm actually glad she hasn't been showered with Oscar hardware (yet). She's still young, she's still growing, and it's never a good thing to start getting that "Too much too soon" criticism (see Lawrence, Jennifer). Her time is coming, never fear.

October 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRob

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