Rose Byrne is known for her work on both the big and small screens, from the films X-Men: First Class, Troy and Bridesmaids to the TV series Damages, for which she was twice nominated for a Golden Globe. While back in Australia this month as ambassador for Oroton she told Kate Waterhouse about working in theatre, finding comedy hard and hoping to be in a David Lynch film.
What are you up to at the moment?
Well, I’m doing a play [You Can’t Take It With You] on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre… which is a beautiful theatre. We’ve been running now for just over two months.
Do you enjoy stage theatre?
I do. I haven’t done a play for years since the Sydney Theatre Company, when I was in my early 20s. It’s thrilling. The first few weeks of previews were pretty nerve wracking. I was finding my feet and getting used to the adrenaline. I was longing to do a play for a really long time… It’s just such a different medium for actors and it’s in a way harder. But it’s thrilling. There’s nothing like the feeling of a live audience.
Do you prefer theatre to film?
No, I don’t. I feel very grateful to do both. Years ago I thought my dream would be to do a play on Broadway – when I started acting in New York when I was like 19. So it’s communion for me: you go in, you get ready and you have your dressing room, you do your little warm up, people come. Theatre really is a ritual. And the tradition of it is so rich.
You’ve had huge success in comedic roles. Is that something you always wanted to pursue or did you fall into it?
I had done more things like Damages and Troy, which were far more serious, and I longed to do something with a bit more levity. But it’s hard – people see you in a certain way. So I was very lucky that Judd Apatow and Nick Stoller cast me in Get Him to the Greek. They really gave me my break. But I think comedy is really hard… It’s serious business, making people laugh!
What genre do you prefer?
Like most actors I feel like diversity is so great … to be able to able to flex different muscles… I think the actors I admire are the chameleons.
Who are some of the actors you admire?
Amy Adams is incredible. She’s really diverse and just wonderful in everything. And I’ve always admired all of the actors who have come from Australia, like Toni Collette or Cate Blanchett or Nicole [Kidman]. I find Naomi [Watts] really very inspiring to watch. I’m very proud to call them countrymen, I suppose.
Bridesmaids was such a huge hit. Was that a lot of fun to work on?
It was. It’s such a pleasure. As a woman, you never get to work with other women… There’s usually one role for the woman in the film. It’s so rare to work with so many women, so it was so fun. I remember, when we were making it we, by no means [was there] thought it was going to become this beloved kind of big hit… It was like a small little comedy.
You have fans around the world. What film do they resonate the most with?
It’s pretty tragic, but Star Wars is what I get the most fan mail from. That film is just in the fabric of society, it’s amazing. I have a tiny part but [the film] just has such a huge cultural influence.
Tell me about your role with Oroton.
It’s wonderful. I was thrilled to be asked to be the face of the brand. I thought it was a great fit. I love the heritage of the brand – which I was really drawn to, being Australian and having grown up with it – and the kind of revamping they were doing to it and really emphasising the relaxed glamour of it.
What are your wardrobe essentials?
A Oroton backpack [pictured], a great pair of jeans, a summer dress, a hat – because of the sun. As Australians we’re always equipped with several. And then a great winter coat for New York, because the winters there are quite brutal. You want to look chic, even if it’s cold.
Will you ever move back to Australia?
Oh sure. I mean I think, like every Australian, you plan to. Well, I do, anyway. My family is here so it’s my emotional home and it’s beautiful. My greatest treasure is my Australian passport.
You must get asked all the time but what was it like to kiss Brad Pitt?
That’s an old one. I haven’t been asked that for a while. It was a tough day, Kate, tough day at the office – very tough! [Laughs.]
What’s next in the pipeline for you?
I finish the play early in the New Year. And [then] I’m not sure; I’m waiting to see. But I’ve gotAnnie [starring Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz] coming out at Christmas.
If you could play any role, who or what would it be?
I’d love to be in David Lynch movie. I’ve always adored his films and I just think I’m kind of his serial fan. I just love him. That would be a really incredible thing.