Saoirse Ronan & Creative Team On The Outrun’s Complicated Heroine

Summary

  • Amy Liptrot’s memoir-turned-movie, The Outrun, is heavily fictionalized despite her co-writing the screenplay.
  • The film stars Saoirse Ronan as Rona, a young woman seeking sobriety in her hometown in the Orkney Islands.
  • The movie reflects the tumult of Rona’s mind and the importance of nature in her healing process, with stunning locations filmed in the original places described in the book.


Amy Liptrot’s memoir-turned-movie The Outrun shares the same name as its source material, but its onscreen adaptation is heavily fictionalized despite Liptrot co-writing the screenplay. Amy becomes Rona, played by the ethereal Saoirse Ronan, is a nature-filled epic directed by German filmmaker Nora Fingscheidt (best known for System Crasher and The Unforgivable). The movie takes place in the Orkney Islands, a location that’s as mesmerizing as it is wild — and one that’s essential to properly telling the story at hand.

Alongside Ronan, The Outrun stars Slow Horses‘ Saskia Reeves and Game of Thrones‘ Stephen Dillane as Rona’s parents. Rona returns to her hometown seeking sobriety, and the nonlinear approach to the narrative reflects the tumult of her mind amidst the craggy Orkney coastline. While fans of Ronan may be surprised to see her step into a modern-day role once more, she is perfectly suited to bring Liptrot’s story to light in fictional form, especially with Fingscheidt’s steady hand guiding her.

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Screen Rant interviewed Ronan, Fingscheidt, and Liptrot while at the Sundance Film Festival, where the trio promoted the premiere of The Outrun. Fingscheidt and Ronan acknowledged their penchant for complicated female leads, while Liptrot shared how it felt to see her own life transformed for the screen.


Star & Creative Team Talk The Outrun

Nora Fingscheidt

Screen Rant: What was it about Amy Liptrot’s story that first inspired you to be part of making this film?

Nora Fingscheidt: When I read the book, it was so moving to me how internal this recovery process was; how honest she was. It was so brutal at times, but it was really very personal and very intimate at the same time. I read it already knowing that Saoirse would star in it, so I had read the book with Saoirse in my mind. I went on this trip to the Orkney Islands, and I was like, “How can I not make this movie?”

Saoirse’s also a producer on the film as well. What do you think it is about her that added that special quality to turn Amy into Rona?

Nora Fingscheidt: It’s her cinematic magic, which can’t be really defined. Some people are so talented, and they’re just made to be in front of the camera. Rona is a role that has to carry the film, from the beginning to the end, since half the film is just her an island. And there are very few people who can carry that pressure, but Saoirse has such a beautiful presence and is so wonderful to work with, and not afraid to go into extreme places. My work is very easy to do when you have good actors.

Location is also so important because nature is really part of the healing process. How did you ensure that you guys had the right locations to bring that to life on screen?

Nora Fingscheidt: We just filmed in the original locations. It was quite easy, because we wanted to make a film as truthful as possible to him speak. And we ended up shooting on her farm where she grew up and in her dad’s cabin; on those real places in the Orkney Islands, which are stunning, like the cottage where she spent two winters writing the outline. It just had to be the original locations.

Your previous film, The Unforgivable, was very well received too. Both have complicated women at the center. Is that something that you like to bring forth in your films? Are you looking to center women as much as possible?

Nora Fingscheidt: It’s not a conscious choice. These roles sort of find me. Both projects came to me, and I responded to those characters that are very complicated and that are fighting their inner demons, more than having just an outside antagonist. I think that is something that I cling to, no matter if they’re male or female. But I do think it’s closer to me to have a female lead, because that’s my perspective on the world.

Source: Screen Rant Plus

Amy Liptrot

Screen Rant: How early on in your creative process did it occur to you that your story could be on screen? Was there a turning point?

Amy Liptrot: That didn’t come from me. I wrote the book, and I was very proud of the book. I wanted to get it published, but that was the limitation of my ambition for it. But then, the first year that it was published, I had a number of different filmmakers approach me interested in adapting it for the screen. I actually had to do quite a bit of thinking about whether that was a step that I wanted to take.

But then I started coming into the book, and I saw how it connected with people. That’s what made me understand that it deserved this huge privilege of being adapted into a feature.

What is it like for you to see Saoirse transform your story for the screen?

Amy Liptrot: I’m still understanding that, I think, and I’ll probably understand it more when I see the film again tonight. I wrote the book when things were very raw for me in the very early stages of sobriety. I’ve been sober now for over 10 years, and things aren’t like that anymore. But I’m glad that I recorded that very difficult and intense time. Watching Saoirse takes me back and makes me remember how bad things were; how hard it was to stop. I guess I feel relieved and proud that I go through those times, and that I don’t feel like that anymore.

Now that you’ve dipped your hand into screenwriting, are you looking to branch out into more fictional stories or to write your follow-up for the screen?

Amy Liptrot: I am writing a book about seaweed, which is very much an individual solo project. We’ll see about more screenwriting.

Source: Screen Rant Plus

Saoirse Ronan

You’ve worked with many powerful women, one of which is Greta Gerwig. Greta recently said she’d like to revisit your Lady Bird character in a sequel. Would you be open to that?

Saoirse Ronan: Did she say that? Did she actually say that? Maybe we should do that. I feel like actually we have always talked about that. Yeah of course I would. I would do everything with her till the end of time.

Source: Screen Rant Plus

The Outrun premiered at Sundance Film Festival on January 19 and is currently seeking U.S. distribution.

The Outrun 2024 Movie Temp Poster

The Outrun

The Outrun is a 2024 drama film based on the personal memoir of Amy Liptrot, directed by Nora Fingscheidt. A young woman named Rona returns to her home in Scotland to heal and face the demons of her past after a stint in rehab.

Release Date
January 19, 2024

Director
Nora Fingscheidt

Cast
Saoirse Ronan , Paapa Essiedu , Stephen Dillane , Saskia Reeves

Runtime
118 Minutes

Writers
Nora Fingscheidt , Amy Liptrot

Studio(s)
Arcade Pictures , BBC Films , Brock Media , Protagonist Pictures

Distributor(s)
StudioCanal