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Young Irish actress makes mark in ‘Atonement’

Published:Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Young Irish actress makes

mark in ‘Atonement’

LOS ANGELES — Her role in “Atonement” earned Saoirse Ronan a Golden Globe nomination, but she hasn’t read the Ian McEwan novel the movie is based on. Ronan is only 13, and the book deals with sexual themes. “Atonement” is Ronan’s third film, but the Irish actress (whose first name is pronounced “SUR’-shuh”) is already getting attention for her role as the young Briony Tallis. In 2008, she’ll appear with Bill Murray in the action-fantasy “City of Ember” and star as a con artist in “Death Defying Acts” alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones. She also has the lead role in Peter Jackson’s film version of “The Lovely Bones” — another book she hasn’t read because of the mature content. Based on the Alice Sebold best-seller, “The Lovely Bones” is the story of 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who’s raped and killed. She narrates her story from heaven as she looks down on her family as they try to cope with the tragedy. Ronan auditioned for the part on videotape with her father, Paul Ronan, a well-known Irish stage actor. The teenager says she’s still “trying to get my head around” the fact that she’s in a film by Peter Jackson, who directed “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Letterman’s first guest

NEW YORK — Robin Williams will be David Letterman’s first guest upon the return of his “Late Show” on CBS on Wednesday. The appearance of a Hollywood A-lister who can talk a mile a minute may be Letterman’s way of quickly trying to draw a distinction between his show and his late-night rivals, who are without writers and may also have trouble booking major entertainers as guests. NBC’s “Tonight” show said Monday that Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee will appear on Jay Leno’s first show back Wednesday.

Today’s birthdays

Author J.D. Salinger is 89. Rock singer-musician Country Joe McDonald is 66. Actor Rick Hurst is 62. Country singer Steve Ripley (The Tractors) is 58. Rapper Grandmaster Flash is 50. Actress Ren Woods is 50. Actress Dedee Pfeiffer is 44. Actress Embeth Davidtz is 42. Country singer Brian Flynn (Flynnville Train) is 42. Actor Morris Chestnut is 39. Actor Verne Troyer is 39.

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