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Saoirse Ronan: 'Grand Budapest' director Wes Anderson was 'very secure in his vision'

The 1930s-set comedy goes into Sunday night's Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony with a nomination for Best Film Ensemble.

By Karen Butler
Saoirse Ronan: 'Grand Budapest' director Wes Anderson was 'very secure in his vision'
Saoirse Ronan arrives at the premiere of 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' at Alice Tully Hall in New York City on February 26, 2014. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

NEW YORK, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- New York-born Irish actress Saoirse Ronan says she leaped at the chance to work with filmmaker Wes Anderson on the ensemble comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Largely set in the 1930s in a fictional European spa town, the Golden Globe Award-winning film co-stars Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody and Tilda Swinton. The movie has become the biggest box-office hit of Anderson's career, as well as a nine-time Oscar nominee. It also goes into Sunday night's Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony with a nomination for Best Film Ensemble.

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So, what initially made Ronan want to work with Anderson, the brains behind the offbeat gems Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom and The Darjeeling Limited?

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"It was everything. It was every single aspect about it," the 20-year-old actress said during a roundtable interview with reporters in New York before the film's theatrical release last year. "I would never not say 'yes' to Wes," Ronan confessed. "When I heard he was going to send me the script to read, I genuinely thought it was a joke or there was something more to it, because I really am a huge fan of his and it was the first time I was such a massive fan of someone and wanted to work with them so much for quite a while and then actually got to. So, that was exciting to me. I was nervous about it because the style of acting he has in his films is so different and there is a theatrical element to it, a sort of dry humor that I think requires a perfect balance in every performance and I was nervous about not being able to do that for Wes, but he was great. He guides everyone extremely well. He is very secure in his vision and he is very comfortable with everything he does. He knows it is going to work. He knows his ideas will work and there is something reassuring about that when you have a birthmark in the shape of Mexico on your face."

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Asked how the distinctive shape drawn on her cheek helped define her character, Ronan replied, "It doesn't.

"The beauty of it, I think, is that it doesn't at all and I love that," she emphasized. "She's just got a birthmark on her face and it's in the shape of Mexico and it's got nothing to do with her character at all. It doesn't really inform her character. It doesn't come into it, really. I really like that. I like that it's just sort of mentioned in passing that she has this big spot on her face and then it's forgotten about and they focus on her and Zero's love for each other and I think that's lovely. I love that all of Wes' characters have a real quirk to them and the really exciting thing, in a way, about doing an ensemble piece like this is you are guaranteed to have an interesting character to play."

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