The unstoppable Saoirse Ronan makes cover of Time Magazine

Carlow actor makes magazine’s ‘Next Generation Leaders’ list

Saoirse Ronan ascends yet another rung on the ladder of fame as she appears on the international cover of this week's Time magazine.

The Irish actor is among 10 young men and women from around the world selected as “Next Generation Leaders”. Only Ms Ronan appears beneath the famous logo. This still means something.

Think back to the furore when, in 1987, Time put U2 on the cover and declared them "Rock's Hottest Ticket". The magazine's decision, four years ago, to honour Enda Kenny and declare a "Celtic Comeback" was more controversial. Even in the digital age, the Time cover makes noise.

Still just 22, Ronan has already established a CV that actors twice her age might envy. She secured an Oscar nomination for Atonement in 2008. She has since worked with Neil Jordan, Wes Anderson and Peter Weir. In the last year, her star has risen precipitously. Her performance in Brooklyn won her a best actress nomination. While awards season was spinning out, she was preparing for the role of Abigail in Ivo van Hove's stark, angular Broadway production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible. Ms Ronan and the show received raves.


Eliana Dockterman, who wrote the piece for Time, met Ronan in her dressing room. "At 22, Ronan is at the forefront of a generation of female actors overturning expectations about how young women are portrayed in theatre, film and television," the journalist tells us. Ronan sips liquorice tea to protect her voice and expounds on an already astonishing career. "It's important for me to play intelligent women, because I think in art, you have a responsibility to portray real life," she says. "It's even more important now that there's such a massive shift towards feminism that men and women see strong, complex women onscreen."

Ronan also makes a spirited defence of her character in The Crucible. Abigail Williams, who really existed, was one of the chief accusers in the notorious Salem Witch Trials. "I bet it was a male teacher who told you she was the villain," she says to Dockterman. "She's usually played quite vampy and sexual and all that. I wasn't going to do that. I just thought she's a 17-year-old, quite precocious, very smart."

Other people featured in the eclectic list of Next Generation Leaders include Polly Stenham, the English playwright who worked on Nicolas Winding Refn's upcoming, hugely controversial The Neon Demon, Irene Kim, the unstoppable South Korean model, and Simone Biles, the US gymnast who overcame a difficult home-life to become a multiple world champion.

Ronan will be appearing in The Crucible until July 17th. We will next see her on screen in a production of Chekhov's The Seagull opposite Annette Bening and Elisabeth Moss. Later in the year, she will return to the work of Ian McEwan - who wrote Atonement - when she stars in Dominic Cooke's version of that author's On Chesil Beach.

Will the foreigners have learned her name by then? “[HER] name is pronounced “Ser-sha,” Ms Dockterman explains. They didn’t have that problem with Bono.