SLOW BYRNE

AUSSIE AC­TRESS ON HER GRAD­UAL RISE TO THE TOP

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL BODEY

Rose Byrne, judg­ing by posters in cin­ema foy­ers, is the busiest ac­tor in Hol­ly­wood. Or she was when she filmed the three movies now screen­ing in Aus­tralia; Bad Neigh­bours 2, The Med­dler and X-Men: Apoca­lypse.

The New York-based Aus­tralian must be aching to take a break?

“Oh no,” she replies quickly. “I had a long break for six months, I’ve been pretty chilled. It’s funny hav­ing them all come out at the same time, which is never planned that way, but all of a sud­den they’re ev­ery­where. But it’s very much out of my con­trol.”

Dur­ing the break Byrne also had her first child, Rocco, with Amer­i­can ac­tor Bobby Can­navale and an­nounced the for­ma­tion of an Aus­tralian pro­duc­tion house, the Doll­house Col­lec­tive, with some friends. You can take the “pretty chilled” with a wink.

What the three films in quick suc­ces­sion have done is el­e­vate Byrne fur­ther up the Hol­ly­wood food chain. Her as­sured, witty per­for­mances on any num­ber of Amer­i­can latenight talk shows in re­cent weeks show just how far she’s come from the quiet teen costar who ap­peared op­po­site Heath Ledger in Two Hands.

The three films also show­case Byrne’s broad range and mar­ketabil­ity.

In the main­stream adult com­edy Bad Neigh­bours 2, Byrne was el­e­vated to lead sta­tus with Seth Ro­gen af­ter ar­gu­ing her char­ac­ter should be as loud and as out­ra­geous as any of the male char­ac­ters. In the ro­man­tic com­edy

The Med­dler, Byrne holds her own op­po­site Su­san Saran­don, who plays a widow cling­ing on to her daugh­ter. And X-Men:

Apoca­lypse is the big su­per­hero block­buster any ac­tor needs on their re­sume if they con­sider them­selves a con­tender.

Byrne doesn’t have the rep­u­ta­tion of a cal­cu­lat­ing ca­reerist, though her views on the fo­cus on Hol­ly­wood’s male roles at the nar­ra­tive and com­mer­cial ex­pense of women shows she’s not naive.

So, she ad­mits the wave of films com­ing out si­mul­ta­ne­ously is “a weird thing” that “can be frus­trat­ing”.

“But it’s a tough mar­ket, and with tele­vi­sion as well, it’s so much more com­pet­i­tive,” she says. “It has come down to a sci­ence re­ally about when is the best time for these things to be re­leased to get their op­ti­mum au­di­ence.”

Com­edy is chal­leng­ing, which is why she grav­i­tates to­wards it, she says. Yet she de­flects much of the credit.

“I think I’m lucky to work with peo­ple like Seth Ro­gen and Melissa McCarthy, peo­ple who re­ally make it look ef­fort­less,” Byrne says.

“But I’m al­ways in­trigued, though, when a tra­di­tion­ally comic ac­tor gets cast in some­thing dra­matic. I al­ways find that an in­ter­est­ing choice as a viewer and I love to see what they do. I love di­ver­sity, and most ac­tors would prob­a­bly think that.”

The Med­dler is an in­ter­est­ing stop in that di­ver­sity, a ro­man­tic com­edy for adults rather than an adult com­edy. “It was in­cred­i­ble to work with Su­san Saran­don on this beau­ti­ful lit­tle in­ti­mate story with great di­a­logue that means some­thing and is re­lat­able. I hadn’t done some­thing like that for a while,” Byrne says.

She de­flects at­ten­tion from her cast­ing op­po­site Saran­don, not­ing she is not quite as much in de­mand as it seems.

“There’s still things that come my way and things that don’t come my way,” she says.

“But I’ve been lucky to have great re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple and stu­dios, like Nick Stoller, the di­rec­tor of Bad Neigh­bours 1 and 2 and Get Him to the

Greek. That re­la­tion­ship has been won­der­ful and I love to work with peo­ple again. It’s great be­cause you have a short­hand and di­a­logue and you can ex­plore things fur­ther, so I love do­ing that.”

And now Byrne has the big comic-book fran­chise on her cur­ricu­lum vi­tae: X-Men.

In X-Men: Apoca­lypse she makes her sec­ond ap­pear­ance, in what is a six-film se­ries , as Dr Moira MacTag­gert.

She’s de­lighted to be part of this well-re­sourced, heav­ily pro­moted Mar­vel Comics film se­ries be­cause the X-Men films have shown them­selves to be “a lit­tle more so­phis­ti­cated” than most comic-book films. “Yet they can be fun, when they’re done well,” she says.

“When they come to­gether, they do cap­ture some­thing of the imag­i­na­tion you had when you were a child, but bring a real in­ten­sity and in­tel­li­gence that tran­scends the genre. You can take them se­ri­ously.”

Su­san Saran­don and Rose Byrne in The Med­dler.

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