Talent to Byrne
The Australian star of Judd Apatow’s new comedy Bridesmaids talks to Nathalie Gale and Marie-Christine Sourris about her own chances of making it down the aisle
WITH her long brunette locks, slender frame and petite and pretty features, Rose Byrne should have no problems finding a husband.
Yet the Sydney-born, New York-based star is still looking for Mr Right.
‘‘ I’m single. I’ve got to find a husband somewhere!’’ she says with a laugh.
But that hasn’t stopped her enjoying every moment of the singleton lifestyle she has happily adopted since splitting with her long-time Aussie actor-writer boyfriend Brendan Cowell early last year.
Byrne, 31, lives footloose and fancyfree, while taking in the odd lap dance at strip clubs – for work, that is, thanks to her role in new chick-flick Bridesmaids.
Written by Annie Mumolo and Saturday Night Live ’ s Kristen Wiig ( who also star), the film has been dubbed the female version of The Hangover and has been cleaning up at the US box office.
As Helen – the vain icequeen and co-best friend of bride Lillian ( played by Maya Rudolph) – Byrne is fantastically funny. Helen goes out of her way to belittle the official maid of honour, Annie ( played by Wiig), who has been Lillian’s best friend since primary school.
‘‘ It is really the antithesis of the typical bridal comedy,’’ Byrne says. ‘‘ It is far darker and weirder and funnier.’’
Best known these days as hot-shot lawyer Ellen Parsons in the hit US series Damages, which has earned her two Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations, it seemed as though Byrne was being typecast as the serious girl.
Then came Get Him to the Greek last year, the Judd Apatow-produced spin-off to the box-office smash Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
‘‘ I have been so lucky with Get Him to the Greek and then to work again with Judd Apatow on Bridesmaids,’’ Byrne says. ‘‘ It is great to do diverse things as an actor so I am very lucky.’’
Is she having fun with the lighter side of film?
‘‘ It is a new format for me and something I have been wanting to do for a long time but I think that is why I love it so much,’’ she says.
‘‘ We laughed all day on set. It was brilliant and one of the best and most fun jobs I have ever had. There was none of that stereotypical stress between girls, or cattiness. I would do it all again in an instant.
‘‘ It is rare that you read a script that is about a group of women for a start, and about a group of funny women in a situation that is familiar to everybody – a wedding and being a bridesmaid and being a bride – so all those sorts of things immediately drew me in.’’
Byrne scored her first film job at 15 in Dallas Doll but her big break didn’t come until 1999, when she starred opposite Heath Ledger in underworld flick Two Hands. She followed up with turns in My Mother Frank and The Goddess of 1967.
Hollywood came calling in 2002, thanks to her ( admittedly small) role in Star Wars: Episode II. Since then, it has been more serious roles in films like Troy, Wicker Park, 28 Weeks Later and Adam that have garnered her critical acclaim.
During her annual hiatus from filming Damages, Byrne usually clocks up at least one film job.
Last year, in addition to Bridesmaids, Byrne starred in haunting horror flick Insidious, released last month, and is now in cinemas with X-Men: First Class.
Juggling film and television keeps her pretty busy and, given the lengthy trip from New York to Australia, Byrne can’t get back home as often as she’d like to visit her parents who live in Tasmania.
‘‘ My dad has a garlic farm, he grows large garlics. So there is a lot of bad breath in our house!’’ she laughs.
BRIDESMAIDS Opens Village Cinemas on Thursday X-MEN: FIRST CLASS Now showing Village Cinemas