If there’s one part Saoirse Ronan has down, it’s playing an iconoclast. She mastered the rebellious role in last year’s beloved Lady Bird, and she’s poised to do so once again in the 1962-set On Chesil Beach. In the first look at the upcoming film adaptation of Ian McEwan’s lauded 2007 novel, Ronan plays an aristocrat willing to walk away from her upper class upbringing for love.
When her father played by Samuel West grills her about her relationship with Edward, played by Billy Howle, Ronan throws a question back at him, saying, “You mean, is he working class or one of us?” Ronan’s character Florence Ponting isn’t entirely confident about her newfound romance, though, as the trailer later shows.
“We can never be happy, and it’s all my stupid fault,” she tells Edward.
“Have you actually forgotten that we were married today?” he asks. “We’re man and wife. That’s what you promised! It’s hopeless.”
“Is it?” she asks.
The rest of the film assumedly answers that question, although it won’t be until May 18 until we know for sure. “It is awkward,” Ronan told The Upcoming of the story when it premiered at the London Film Festival last fall. “It needs to be done in quite a delicate, sensitive way. It’s the kind of subject that hasn’t really been approached before or told in such a way and I was quite excited about that. Florence is someone who is incredibly reserved yet has this animal need inside her to have sex. The battle within yourself to make that a reality is something that everyone faces.”
While Ronan has On Chesil Beach coming up, as well as Mary Queen of Scots and The Seagull, her future may hold less films where she’s in front of the camera. She recently opened up about being inspired to direct after working with Greta Gerwig on Lady Bird, telling Sunday TODAY per People, “That was something I was drawn to even before acting. [As a little girl] I’d bully all my friends into being in little films I made. I’d get the camcorder — I loved bringing all of this together to make one thing.”
Saoirse Ronan’s Best Red Carpet Moments
Saoirse Ronan in a Proenza Schouler coat worn as a dress at the Cinema Society screening of The Host in New York, New York, March 2013. Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic.
Saoirse Ronan in Burberry at the British Independent Film Awards in London, England, December 2015. Photo by Getty Images.
Saoirse Ronan in Chanel at a screening of Hanna in New York, New York, April 2011. Photo by Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic.
Saoirse Ronan in Christopher Kane at the EE British Academy Film Awards in London, England, February 2013. Photo by Getty Images.
Saoirse Ronan in Valentino at the premiere of Brooklyn at the 53rd annual New York Film Festival in New York, New York, October 2015. Photo by Steve Zak Photography/FilmMagic.
Saoirse Ronan in Lanvin at the Los Angeles premiere of The Host in Hollywood, California, March 2013. Photo by Getty Images.
Saoirse Ronan in Mary Katrantzou at the premiere of How I Live Now at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Canada, September 2013. Photo by Getty Images.
Saoirse Ronan in Valentino at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in West Hollywood, California, March 2014. Photo by Getty Images.
Saoirse Ronan in Lanvin at a screening of Brooklyn at the BFI London Film Festival in London, England, October 2015. Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage.
Saoirse Ronan in Stella McCartney at the Los Angeles premiere of Brooklyn in Los Angeles, California, October 2015. Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images for Fox Searchlight.
Saoirse Ronan in Michael Kors at the 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild awards in Los Angeles, California, January 2016. Photo by Getty Images.
Saoirse Ronan in Burberry at the EE British Academy Film Awards in London, England, February 2016. Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage.
Saoirse Ronan in Saint Laurent at the 63rd annual Golden Globes in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage.
Saoirse Ronan in custom Calvin Klein at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California, February 2016. Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic.
Saoirse Ronan in Calvin Klein at the Britannia Awards in Beverly Hills, California, October 2015. Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage.