By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com December 14, 2011 at 9:05AM
Since her impressive debut in 2007's "Atonement," Saoirse Ronan has made a career out of taking some of the toughest, least conventional teen roles. From her youthful fibber in Joe Wright's film, she's played the deceased victim of a rape and murder in Peter Jackson's "The Lovely Bones," a Polish girl struggling for survival in Peter Weir's "The Way Back," and a pair of fresh-faced assassins, in Wright's "Hanna" and Geoffrey Fletcher's "Violet and Daisy." And she's still only seventeen. Ronan is currently filming the vampire tale "Byzantium" from Neil Jordan, and is next set to play the dual role of a teen girl and the alien parasite that possesses her in Andrew Niccol's adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's "The Host." Now she's just lined up a third, a film so firmly inside her wheelhouse that, to be honest, we'd assumed she'd signed up to months ago.
Variety report that Ronan will star in "How I Live Now," the adaptation of Meg Rosoff's award-winning 2004 young adult novel that will mark the latest film from Kevin MacDonald, director of "Touching The Void," "The Last King of Scotland" and "State of Play." The actress will play Daisy, a New Yorker staying with English cousins when World War III breaks out. As the country becomes occupied, she falls for her cousin, Edmond, and has to protect her younger cousin Piper from the invading troops.
The script comes from Jeremy Brock ('Last King of Scotland') and Tony Grisoni ("Red Riding"), which is some pretty good pedigree, and Film4 are backing the project along with Cowboy Films ("Top Boy"). Like, well, everyone, we were pretty much nonplussed by MacDonald's last film "The Eagle," but we're hoping that was a blip, as we've liked the rest of his work to one degree or another. He's also got his "Marley" documentary, which the filmmaker took over from Jonathan Demme, on the way, and we've high hopes for that too. Ronan is pretty much perfect casting, and the novel's powerful stuff, so there's every reason to hope that this'll be a return to form. There's no word on when it might start shooting, but with "The Host" looking to turn over early next year, it'll probably be next spring/summer, with a 2013 release to follow.