'Lady Bird' Star Saoirse Ronan on the Importance of Telling More Female Stories in Movies

In case you’re wondering if the hype is true, consider this: Lady Bird—the coming-of-age dramedy starring Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan—is the only movie in limited or wide release right now to score 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Even better, the film is written by actress Greta Gerwig and loosely inspired by her own life. Oh, and did we mention that it also marks Gerwig’s directorial debut? Perhaps Hollywood really is starting to make a dent in what’s traditionally been a role filled by men.

“It’s really exciting,” Ronan says of the film. “I can feel Lady Bird is opening up that conversation even more. And because it’s such a positive movie filled with joy, and it’s realistic and relatable, it’s catching on. It’s great that everyone is opening up their eyes to the possibilities when it comes to female stories. There are just so many to tell. It’s very exciting.”

Ronan is right. Lady Bird is further proof that you don’t need special effects or an overly hyped sequel (sorry, Blade Runner 2049) to make an impact. While we’re all for a great escapist blockbuster, it’s welcome news to see a story told through the female gaze resonate with so many men and women. Lady Bird may only be 17 year old, but her struggles and triumphs are relatable at any age and any gender. So as the film continues to gain momentum heading into awards season, Ronan called us in Los Angeles to talk about all of that and more.

Glamour: Playing Lady Bird must have been so fun. What did you love most about her?

Saoirse Ronan: Someone said to me a while ago, and I don’t know why I haven’t said it before, but she’s not overly nice to people, which I really liked. I don’t mean it in a way that makes her seem rude—it’s not like that—I just mean that everything she does, every decision she makes, and every interaction she has with someone is so sincere. That’s probably a better way of putting it. She doesn’t kiss anyone’s ass, and I love that. And I love that she’s so driven. If she sees something she wants, she’ll go get it. She isn’t afraid of falling flat on her face. She’s willing to take the risk. She’s insecure and has her doubts and things like that, but she believes in herself, and I think she likes herself. She knows that even if she doesn’t know what she’s going to be or what it is exactly that she wants to say, she’s going to be something, and she’s going to do something, and she has opinions. Again, that’s going back to female stories, and I hope it’s great for boys and girls to see someone like that on screen.

Glamour: How similar are you to Christine/Lady Bird when you were her age?

SR: You know that thing that young people do where they are still kids and they look at the grown-ups around them and sort of try to emulate and impersonate them when it comes to the way they move, the way they converse, what they buy in the corner store, things like that? From scene to scene, she’s trying on all these different characters to see which one fits, but she also is incredibly authentic. I remember up until recently always having a clear sense of who I was and never deviating away from that, but it definitely took a while. It’s learned behavior, and you can see her doing that. I could relate to that.

Glamour: We have to talk about the scene where you literally throw yourself out of the passenger seat of the car and onto the road.