Entertainment Movies How Saoirse Ronan Finally Got a Chance to Go to Prom — in 'Lady Bird' Lady Bird is now playing in theaters. By Nigel Smith Nigel Smith Nigel Smith is Senior News Editor, Movies at PEOPLE. He is an Entertainment Editor and Writer with more than 10 years of experience in the online and print industries as a journalist, storyteller, proofreader and manager. In 2017 Smith joined the PEOPLE editorial team in New York as News Editor, Movies. He has written feature stories and reviews including interviews with Ryan Reynolds, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Hudson and Russell Crowe. Prior, he served as News Editor at the Wrap in Los Angeles, and Entertainment Editor at the Guardian, also in LA, where he covered the red carpet at major awards shows including the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Governors Awards, Grammy Awards and Independent Spirit Awards. He also attended and reported on major film festivals at Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Telluride, SXSW and Tribeca. Smith has appeared as an expert commentator on numerous morning and entertainment shows including Good Morning America, Today, NBC News, BBC News, Access Hollywood, NY1, PeopleTV and more. A native of Toronto, Canada, Smith graduated from Syracuse University in New York State with Master of Arts degree in Arts Journalism (Film). He is married and lives in New York City. People Editorial Guidelines Published on December 1, 2017 02:52 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Saoirse Ronan is not your average 23-year-old. Already twice nominated for an Academy Award (ten years ago a scene-stealing role in Atonement made her one of the youngest Supporting Actress contenders ever, followed by a second nod for 2016’s Brooklyn), Ronan will likely bag her third for her new hit comedy Lady Bird. Also separating her from the pack — she’s never been to a real prom. In Lady Bird, the Irish actress goes all-American to play the titular spunky Sacramento-raised teen who clashes with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) and Catholic School teachers. The film, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, is partly based on the Frances Ha star’s upbringing in California in the early 2000s. Michael Buckner/Deadline/Shutterstock Mostly homeschooled in Dublin, Ronan had never before set foot in a U.S. high school. “My references were Saved by the Bell and Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” Ronan tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “To get to actually do prom and graduate [high school] was very exciting because I’ve grown up watching that on TV. I wasn’t really a part of that whole experience.” Lady Bird Saoirse Ronan and Lucas Hedges Ronan was born in New York City, but her immigrant parents moved back to Ireland when she was 3 because of her father’s work as an actor. (She says playing an Irish transplant in Brooklyn was “very emotional because it was my mom and dad’s story.”) Gerwig calls Ronan “an incredible technical actress, able to master accents and walks and physically inhabiting a person who is definitively not her,” while also “having access to something completely spontaneous and uncontrolled and alive.” “This pairing is a director’s dream,” said Gerwig. Lady Bird is now playing in theaters.