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Oct 13, 2015 5:36 PM
Saoirse Ronan has earned rave reviews for her commanding central performance in John Crowley’s sweeping romantic epic Brooklyn.
It’s perhaps the most impressive work to date from an incredibly precocious young actor, whose glittering CV includes collaborations with the likes of Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones), Peter Weir (The Way Back), Joe Wright (Atonement, Hanna) and Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel). Here she is in conversation with festival programmer Tricia Tuttle at BFI Southbank.
Oct 13, 2015 4:40 PM
Family is the warm, beating heart of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s films and he’s back on familiar territory with Our Little Sister. This low-key drama, about three sisters who decide to take in their estranged half-sister Suzu after their father dies, is an intimate exploration of blood ties told with gentle affection. Ann Lee sat down with the director ahead of last night’s festival premiere.
What was it about this project that interested you?
In 2008, when the manga Umimachi Diary came out, I knew that I really wanted to adapt it. The main attraction was that the story was all about abandoned children. They’re adults but they’ve been abandoned by their parents. They then adopt another abandoned child. The original comic deals with the passing of time in a very mature way. I’m interested in stories of people who are left behind.
Is it true you didn’t give Suzu Hirose, who plays Suzu, a script?
Everyone else had one. The only person who didn’t get a script was Suzu, the youngest actress. Normally, I don’t give scripts to children. She was 16 so it was actually borderline but she wanted to do it without one. On location, I just talked to her before filming. She liked it without a script. She had to concentrate more on what the other sisters were saying to her because she hadn’t studied the lines beforehand.
Why do you like this method of working?
In the past when I’ve auditioned child actors, it’s worked better. I want to train them to make sure they use their hearing rather than reading something.
Why is family a theme you keep returning to?
Within the last ten years, I’ve lost my mother and I’ve become a father so it’s a subject that’s very dear to me.
Steven Spielberg is planning a remake of Like Father, Like Son. Who would be your dream cast?
Christian Bale for the father and Ethan Hawke for the other father in the electrical shop. I don’t know if that’s how it’s going to happen, but in my mind that would be ideal.
Would you ever make an English-language film?
I can only speak Japanese, so working in Japan will always be my base. I’m very lucky in that there are many western actors who have said they’d like to work with me, so I’m tempted. Maybe there’ll be a collaboration. It’ll be a challenge. I’ve been in touch with Juliette Binoche. For the past ten years, we’ve always talked about how we’d love to do something together.
Our Little Sister screens again at 8.45pm tonight at the Curzon Soho.