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From ‘The Lovely Bones’ to ‘Little Women’! Saoirse Ronan’s Transformation Over the Years

When it comes to talented actresses in young Hollywood, Saoirse Ronan absolutely comes to mind. What a lot of moviegoers may not be aware of, however, is that the American-Irish powerhouse has been a staple in the industry since the early 2000s. 

Saoirse, who was born in NYC and raised primarily in Dublin, began acting in 2003. Her debut role was in a TV series called The Clinic. Three years later, Saoirse landed a role in Atonement starring Keira Knightley, James McAvoy and Brenda Blethyn.

It wasn’t until 2009 that the blonde beauty snagged a starring role of her own. Saoirse played Susie Salmon in the movie adaptation of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones alongside Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci

“It wasn’t one of those things where you hear about it and you jump up and down and scream. We just sat there [on the couch in their living room] and we’re trying to figure out what they just said,” Saoirse recalled in an interview on getting cast in the film. “’Wait a minute, I’ve been cast in a Peter Jackson film?’ For a few days, it was weird. I was just trying to get my head around it.”

One of Saoirse’s most notable roles to date is Jo March in the 2019 adaptation of Little Women directed by Greta Gerwig. “I had heard, I think from her or my agent, that this was a thing she was going to do, and so straight away I was just, ‘I have to be Jo,'” Saoirse told Deadline in January 2020.

“Because it was her and because it was Jo … there was no way I could have seen her direct anyone else’s Jo March,” she continued. “And even she even told me, ‘The fact that you’ve been directed by other people is weird to me,’ because we’re just very close.”

Saoirse went on to reveal exactly how she approached Greta for the role. “I really did just go up to her at an awards show and say, ‘I know you’re going to do this thing. I want to be in it, and I really think the only part I can play is Jo March. So, if you want me to be in it, this is what I’m willing to offer you,” she explained.

“It was the most ballsy I’ve ever been. She said that she would think about it, which wasn’t quite the reaction that I was hoping for, but OK,” Saoirse admitted. “And then she emailed me a week later. She said, ‘You’re right, you’re Jo.’ So, she let me do it. I’ve never done that before. I’ve never pursued a role in that way.”

We’re so glad she did!

Scroll through the gallery below to see photos of Saoirse’s complete transformation, as well as learn more about her movie roles!