The Host - Saoirse Ronan
The Host - Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) reflects on her two characters! ©2013 Open Road Films

I had the pleasure of spending a small part of St Patrick’s Day with Irish actress Saorise Ronan. We were at the Four Season’s Hotel in Beverly Hills for the press day for her movie, The Host.

Based on a novel by Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), the film spotlights an unseen alien enemy, called Souls, that is threatening mankind by taking over human bodies and erasing their memories, transforming the planet into a clean, safe, peaceful world.

When Melanie Stryder (Ronan) is implanted with a Soul named Wanderer, Melanie fights back, being trapped in the same body. When Melanie convinces Wanderer to return to her family, hiding in an underground cave in the desert, she encounters her boyfriend Jared (Max Irons), and meets Ian (Jake Abel), whom Wanderer falls in love with, creating an unbearable rift between her and Melanie.

Saoirse spoke with us about the challenge of creating two characters occupying the same body.

What was it like playing both Melanie and Wanderer?

The Host - Saoirse Ronan
Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) ©2013 Open Road Films

It was quite a challenge, making sure that there was a real separation [between them] as much as possible.

It was great getting to do two different accents for them, and they had different physicality’s, the way they fought back.

Basically it was great just to bring two characters to life instead of one.

You had your own pre-recorded voice, as Melanie, streaming into your ear. Did it take a little while to get used to that?

It took a bit to get used to it.

Also most of the time we were out in the desert, or we were romping down the street, and sometimes it would go in and out of frequency and I would get this highly pitched sound when the signal was gone.

My ears are very sensitive, so that was a pain.

Did doing the movie Hanna prepared you for the physicality of this role?

The Host - Max Irons and Saoirse Ronan
Jared (Max Irons) and Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) ©2013 Open Road Films

I think Hanna has really prepared me for any stunts that I’ve had to do since. It really has. This wasn’t as action packed as you would think.

There was one fight that I had, but I had to react to it. I’m not used to getting hit, so I didn’t like that. But Hanna really sets you up for anything that you’re doing in the future when you do something that’s so concentrated like that.

Are you ready for the type of fan adoration that comes with a film like this, which could turn into a franchise?

The Host - Saoirse Ronan
Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) ©2013 Open Road Films

I treat it like it’s a job. I’ve done three films since then, but I am aware that with a film like this, which in book form is part of a franchise, you do get a lot of attention.

I don’t know how I would react to something like that, because the films that I’ve made wouldn’t get that kind of attention, so I’m not used to that kind of stuff. I’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.

It’s set up for something like that, but it may not happen.

What was it like working with Max and Jake?

The Host - Saoirse Ronan
Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan) ©2013 Open Road Films

We all got on very well from the start which was very important, because we have so many intimate scenes together.

We needed to have the dynamic where we were relaxed with each other.

More than anything we had a laugh and we had fun.

I asked Saoirse if this was the first time she had an onscreen kiss in a movie? Click play on the video below for her demonstrating her very first onscreen kiss when she was ten!

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Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.