Saoirse Ronan
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Star portrays American teen

In 2007, producer Charles Steel saw 12-year-old Saoirse Ronan in “Atonement” and thought that in a few more years, she’s be right to  play the lead part of an adaptation of Meg Rosoff’s near-future novel “How I Live Now.”

“We’d already been developing it for several years and we thought we need Saoirse to be older,” Steel said Tuesday following the world premiere at the Winter Garden in Toronto. “But it took us so long that we were getting worried that we had missed our opportunity.”

Ronan, who’s now 19, remained as the lead. When shooting started last summer in Wales, selected due to the country’s large stretches of undeveloped land, another hurdle emerged.

“It never stopped raining,” Steel recalled at the after-party at Lucien. “We were in the wettest part of Wales.”

Steel had also explained at the theater why director Kevin MacDonald was a no-show due to shooting “Black Sea.” “He’d like to have been here but he’s on a submarine in England with Jude Law,” he said.

Ronan, who grew up mostly in Ireland, told the audience that she had enjoyed preparing to talk like an American teenager with a slight New York accent for the film.

I’ve done the American accent more than any other,” she added. “I loved it.”

Ronan also read a message from MacDonald: “‘How I Live Now’ was the most fun I’ve ever had making a film.”

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