Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 27 October, 2020

Saoirse Ronan got caught giving out about people in Irish while filming Mary Queen of Scots

Saoirse and her mate Eileen didn’t realise a crew member was also Irish.


ON LAST NIGHT’S episode of The Graham Norton Show, Graham brought up the fact that Timothée Chalamet is fluent in French, and asked if we should be pronouncing the young man’s name the way that French speakers would.

Timothée was clearly worn down by years of hearing Americans mispronounce his name, so he told Graham that Timothy is just fine. In fact, he said you can call him “whatever”, like “Doug or Alex” even. He doesn’t mind. Saoirse on the other hand, works a bit harder to make sure that people get the Irish pronunciation of her name juuust right. 

Timothée told Graham that he’s about 97% fluent in French, as his French isn’t entirely perfect. C’mon, Timothée, let’s be real. The majority of native English speakers probably aren’t even speaking English perfectly either. Cut yourself some slack. 

Graham then asked Saoirse about her proficiency in Irish, and she admitted that, like many Irish people, she’s unfortunately nowhere near fluent. Despite that, she still tries to get a few words of Irish in when she’s working on movies with her Irish pals. For Mary Queen of Scots she was working alongside one of her closest friends, actor Eileen O’Higgins. 

So, I’m not fluent in Irish but I know little words here and there. Eileen is my best mate, and she’s in the film as well. Whenever we were talking about someone, basically, I would use Irish words. So, I’d be like “so-and-so is driving me…” and then use an Irish word. 

Saoirse… We don’t mean to alarm you, but we think they might be able to decipher the gist of that sentence, whether or not you throw the Irish word in at the end…

One of the sound guys came up to us one day – us thinking we’d gotten away with it – and, he was like, “Lads… you know that I am Irish and I do understand everything you’re saying.” We weren’t talking about him, but we had thought we had gotten away with it. We hadn’t. 

You might remember Saoirse’s shoutout to Eileen at the 2018 Golden Globes last year. The pair haven’t just worked on Mary Queen of Scots together, but a handful of other films, including Brooklyn. 

The chat about the Irish language didn’t end there. Graham asked comedian Stephen Mangan if he spoke any Irish, to which Mangan informed him that he did not, but his parents did – and they often insulted him in Irish as a child. Then, Stephen said that he knew what Mangan meant in Irish, and told Graham, “It means luxuriant head of hair.” 

I read it on a keyring at Dublin airport, so it’s gotta be true. 

Well, it’s not hard to understand how he ended up with a surname like that, anyway.

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Kelly Earley

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