Saoirse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson faced some unique challenges with Brooklyn, a romantic drama about Eilis Lacey (Ronan), an Irish immigrant living in 1950’s New York who must choose between her new life with Italian-American boyfriend Tony (Emory Cohen) and one back in the Emerald Isle with local lad, Jim (Gleeson).
In an interview with EW at the Toronto International Film Festival, Ronan addressed how she struggled with but also embraced her personal connection to the material. “The exciting and scary thing about playing [Eilis] was the fact that it was so close to my own personal life,” said the Irish-American actress, whose other credits include Atonement, Hanna, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. “I’ve only ever played characters that are completely separate with their situation and who they are as a person to myself.”
Domhnall (Ex Machina), on the other hand, spoke to how he approached his character, who is the second man Eilis falls for. “I had to think about his part in the film as a whole and try and fit into that, so he can’t be too pushy [or] reticent,” he explains. “The aim was to make him a viable option for love for Saoirse’s character.”
John Crowley directed the work, and Nick Hornby adapted the novel by Colm Tóibín for the screen. Jim Broadbent, Jane Brennan, and Julie Walters also appear in the film, which opened in theaters yesterday. For more from Ronan and Domhnall, watch their interviews below: