The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - CLARE PRESS

It’s rain­ing. Rose Byrne dashes through the drops and ducks in­side a cafe, down the road from the apart­ment she keeps in Syd­ney, be­cause Australia “still feels like home”, even though she’s barely here.

The rest of the time she’s in New York, where she’s lived for eight years, tak­ing meet­ings in LA or film­ing some­where ex­otic, be­cause Byrne is an Al­ist Hol­ly­wood star.

Not that you would know it to meet her.

“Hello!” she sings out, shak­ing the driz­zle off her ridicu­lously great hair. “Have I kept you wait­ing? Oh no, I hope not.”

At 35, she still looks like a 20-some­thing but not in a Botox-y way. She’s fresh-faced in a white T-shirt and blue jeans, car­ry­ing a sim­ple black Oro­ton bag (she’s the face of the brand).

We’re here to talk about her new movie, a big-bud­get spy spoof called, ap­pro­pri­ately, Spy. Paul Feig, who brought us

Brides­maids, di­rects. If you’re one of the 0.01 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion who hasn’t seen Byrne in that movie, you must – she’s su­perb.

In Spy, she plays a vil­lain, the spoiled Rus­sian heiress Raina Boy­anov, who is determined to steal a nu­clear weapon (as you do).

Raina’s hair is big­ger than she is and is the butt of many of the movie’s jokes.

Byrne’s Brides­maids co-star Melissa McCarthy plays Su­san Cooper, the un­likely spy who must stop Raina and her hair.

How­ever, Cooper is not a proper spy, although she did go through train­ing be­fore she got her desk job. But she turns out to be a truly ex­cel­lent arse-kicker. Cooper is a back-of-house “CIA an­a­lyst”, which means it is her job to give spy sup­port, through an ear­piece, to the dash­ing cliche that is Bradley Fine (Jude Law).

When, spoiler alert, Fine can’t con­tinue his mission, Cooper has to step in, un­der­cover, in a se­ries of bad wigs. Does she have what it takes to foil the evil, beau­ti­ful Raina?

UK co­me­dian Mi­randa Hart and Byrne’s real-life boyfriend Bobby Can­navale also star and there’s an amus­ing cameo from 50 Cent.

The re­sults could have been sim­ply silly, but, in fact, Spy is bril­liant. Feig has cre­ated a slick, gen­uinely funny and en­ter­tain­ing romp. He was right to cast Byrne, who says he ap­proached her be­cause they clicked on Brides­maids.

“It doesn’t al­ways work that way; it’s very com­pet­i­tive, you know?’’ she says. “It’s tough to get great parts.”

I can’t think of any­one who could nail Raina’s weird mix of drop-dead gor­geous and creepy wrong­ness as well as Byrne does. It’s to do with the fine bal­ance of her flaw­less, some­what icy beauty and her abil­ity to ham it up con­vinc­ingly, whether she’s be­ing dragged along a street in sky-high heels, her head stuck up Hart’s jacket for “pro­tec­tion”, or en­gag­ing in a bizarre phys­i­cal fight aboard a pri­vate jet that sees her pinned down by some bloke’s bum.

She’s got slap­stick down pat. Where does she get it from?

“Fawlty Tow­ers,” she laughs.

“Basil Fawlty, to me, is the great­est, and Manuel. That stuff is so beau­ti­fully choreographed.”


Spy opens to­day

Brides­maids co-stars Rose Byrne (left) and Melissa McCarthy are back to­gether in Spy.

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