Irish actress Saoirse Ronan will take on the lead role in new feature film ‘Testament of Youth.’
The Carlow-native is set to play British pacifist Vera Brittain in the David Heyman-produced period drama, which was announced at Cannes last week.
Heyman is best known for adapting the ‘Harry Potter’ books for the screen. The story will focus on Brittain’s early career as a journalist and her later occupation as a nurse during World War One.
Juliette Towhidi (Calendar Girls) wrote the script which was adapted from Brittain’s own memoir from 1933. ‘Testament of Youth’ charted the effects the war had on women and middle-class families, and is considered a classic in feminist literature. BBC Films is developing and financing the project.
There is no confirmed shoot date for the feature at this early stage, but BBC Films said it is “thrilled” to have Ronan on board.
‘Testament of Youth’ will be Ronan’s second foray into period drama, having been nominated for an Oscar in 2008 for her role in 1930’s-set ‘Atonement,’ starring alongside Keira Knightley and James McAvoy.
Five-time IFTA-winner Ronan, who recently celebrated her 18th birthday, was last seen in assassin-based thriller ‘Hanna’ and has recently finished filming sci-fi film ‘The Host.’
Ronan has seven films in the pipeline for 2012/2013 release, including Neil Jordan’s ‘Byzantium’, which is selling at market at this year’s Cannes Festival, and Manuel Sicilia’s animation ‘Justin and the Knights of Valour’, which is currently in post-production.
The young actress is known for her risk-taking roles, having played a murdered teenager in ‘The Lovely Bones’ in 2009, and taking on the role of an orphaned girl in 2010’s ‘The Way Back’, appearing alongside Colin Farrell and Jim Sturgess.
The BBC previously made a BAFTA-winning TV miniseries on ‘Testament of Youth’ in 1979. BBC Films will co-produce with Heyday Films on the feature film version.