Her name is pronounced “seer-sha.”

That was an initial concern in going into this interview with the young star of Hanna, Saoirse Ronan and the director of the movie, Joe Wright.

As the director of films such as Atonement and Pride and Prejudice, Wright’s venture into the action genre (set to a pulsating Chemical Brothers soundtrack no less) is a little different. It is a far from a story based on Brit-lit:

(Listen to the audio!)
[gplayer href=”http://blog.dinoray.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/jw-longprocess.mp3″]Joe Wright and his Process[/gplayer]

“I like to work and I make a lot of films,” continues Wright. “I made four films in six years and I don’t imagine letting up — I learn from one and take it to the next.”

His philosophy on filmmaking considering the diversity of movies and TV shows he watched growing up. Bambi had quite a profound influence on his life and Dukes of Hazzard and Knight Rider had a big impact as well.

Perhaps a General Lee or K.I.T.T. cameo may be have been appropriate Atonement.

Nonetheless, it was David Lynch‘s Blue Velvet that was the game changer. After being left home alone for the first time at the age of 15, he popped this movie into his VCR and he said it “blew his f*cking mind.”

Wright says he has grown with each film and with Hanna his grows in a sci-fi/action direction. The movie is about a girl (that would be Hanna) raised in the woods by her father (Eric Bana). While in isolation she is trained to be a perfect, albeit ruthless assassin. She is released into the real world and is tracked by a group of operatives led by a ruthless Prada-wearing agent named Marissa (Cate Blanchett). Even though it sells itself as an action-filled flick, full of the violence and high octane chase scenes, Wright and Ronan unmask it as a fairy tale — which would explain Wright’s attempt to make the fight scenes unrealistic.

[gplayer href=”http://blog.dinoray.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/jwsr-violence.mp3″]Fairy tale violence [/gplayer]

The character of Hanna is interesting and a bit odd. Ronan learned to balance her naive innocence with her ability to kick ass.

“Hanna is someone who is always very focused,” said Ronan. “I feel like only when she fights — when that switch is flipped — she turns into an animal. We really did treat her like an animal. Like a wolf.”

She may be an animal, but Hanna falls in line with young female characters in movies such as Hit Girl from Kick Ass and the newest member of the “girls who can kill with their bare hands” club, Katniss Everdeen from the upcoming movie adaptation of The Hunger Games. All these girls can serve as a symbol of empowerment for girls.

[gplayer href=”http://blog.dinoray.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/sr-hannaempowerment.mp3″]The girl power of Hanna[/gplayer]

Therein lies my whole purpose of this interview: to get Saoirse Ronan to talk about The Hunger Games.

Mission accomplished.

Hanna opens in theaters on Friday, April 8

Photo credit: Focus Features