PROFILE
Name:
Rose Byrne
Birth Date:
July 24, 1979
Birth Place:
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Height:
5' 6¼" (1.68 m)
Nationality:
Australian
Famous for:
Her role in 'The Goddess of 1967' (2000)
BIOGRAPHY
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Briseis of Troy

Background:

“I'm probably in that next group of actors they call if Scarlett (Johansson) or Keira (Knightley) turns down a part. But I feel really lucky. To be a working actor is pretty incredible, because 99 per cent of actors are out of work. I know a lot of talented people who are better actors than me but haven't had a break. It's all down to timing and luck.” Rose Byrne

Acting by the age of 8 and making her film debut at age 13, Australian actress Rose Byrne appeared in a number of music videos as well as such TV series as “Echo Point” and “Heartbreak High.” On the big screen, she received notice in her home country as the mysterious red-haired blind girl in “The Goddess of 1967” (2000) and as fellow Aussie and Hollywood heartthrob Heath Ledger's love interest in Gregor Jordan's critically acclaimed, fast-paced thriller film “Two Hands” (1999).

In 2002, Byrne entered Hollywood with a small role as Dormé, the loyal handmaiden to Natalie Portman's Queen Padme Amidala, in George Lucas' “Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones.” Since then, she has played such significant roles as Briseis, the Trojan queen who was abducted during the Trojan War by Achilles (played by Brad Pitt), in Wolfgang Petersen's epic blockbuster “Troy” (2004), Alex, the woman who manipulated Josh Hartnett's character to keep him apart from the woman he loved, in the romantic psychological thriller “Wicker Park” (2004) and Duchesse de Polignac, a French aristocrat and friend of Marie Antoinette, in the Academy Award-winning biopic starring Kirsten Dunst, “Marie Antoinette” (2006). She also played Cassie in “Sunshine” and portrayed Scarlett in the sci-fi horror “28 Weeks Later” (both in 2007). Next, she will star opposite Jay Baruchel in a dark comedy titled “Just Buried” and Hugo Weaving in an Australian film “The Tender Hook.”

TV audiences can catch Byrne in the new FX legal drama, "Damages," playing the regular role of Ellen Parsons, a young attorney torn between her hard-hitting, high-stakes new boss (played by Glenn Close) and her own ambitions.

The 5' 6¼" Scottish and Irish descendant actress was one of Maxim Magazine's "Hot 100 of 2002" and FHM's “Sexiest Women in the World,” Australian edition (2006). She was the face of Max Factor between 2004 and 2006. She is currently dating Australian actor/writer/director Brendan Cowell (broke up during the filming of “Troy” and “Wicker Park,” but have since gotten back together). In the past, she was romantically linked to Gregor Jordan.


Baby of the Family

Childhood and Family:

In Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Rose Judith Esther Byrne was born on July 24, 1979, to Jane, a primary school administrator, and Robert Byrne, a semi-retired statistician. The youngest child of the family, Rose has an older brother named George (born in 1976; musician), and two older sisters, Alice (born in 1973) and Lucy (born in 1972). She is of Irish-Scottish descent and best friends with fellow Australian actress Nadia Townsend.

Rose studied drama at Syndey’s Australian Theatre for Young People and later at David Mamet Acting School, in New York.

“There’s so much opportunity here. Politics aside, you have a lot of possibilities here that you don’t have other places. The British are so culturally themselves. That’s always a shock. They’re polite, almost to the point of pathological self-deprecation. Americans are so much more gregarious and loud and out-going and open-minded.” Rose Byrne (on Los Angeles)

In 2005, Rose left Los Angeles and moved to London where she owns a house with her sister. She divides her time between London and Sydney.

During her free time, Rose enjoys yoga, hanging out with friends, reading books and watching movies. She said, “Generally, I'm pretty low-key, so I like doing yoga when I can or catching up with friends, the usual stuff. I catch up on my books, movies, and other things. I just chill out and take it easy instead of work, work, work.”


The Goddess of 1967

Career:

At the age of 8, Rose Byrne began acting and signed up with the Australian Theatre for Young People. She landed her big screen debut at age 13 when she was cast as Rastus Sommers in writer/director Ann Turner's comedy movie starring Sandra Bernhard, “Dallas Doll” (1994). She subsequently retreated to the small screen and starred in the short-lived nighttime soap opera “Echo Point” (1995). She was also spotted as a guest in such Australian TV series as the drama/comedy "Fallen Angels," the cop-drama "Wildside," the aviation drama "Big Sky" and the popular teen drama "Heartbreak High." She also appeared in a TV commercial for Sony.

In 1999, Byrne returned to the wide screen starring in Damon Herriman and William Usic's 7-minute comedy film “The Date.” That same year, she received wide notice in her home country while starring opposite fellow Aussie and Hollywood heartthrob Heath Ledger in writer/director Gregor Jordan's critically acclaimed, fast-paced thriller “Two Hands,” which won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Film. She also starred with Australian musician Alex Lloyd in the music video for his single "Black The Sun" and was featured on the cover artwork for the EP.

Entering the new millennium, Byrne was featured in writer/director Mark Lamprell's multi-award winning independent comedy film “My Mother Frank,” alongside Sam Neill and Sinéad Cusack. Afterward, she snagged her first leading role as a mysterious, red-haired blind girl in “The Goddess of 1967,” a romantic drama comedy directed by Macau-born Australian Clara Law. Byrne's solid performance won her a Best Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival.

Rose also appeared as a guest in an episode of the cop drama series "Murder Call" and starred in Nash Edgerton's 3-minute action/comedy film “The Pitch.” She also acted on stage playing a lead role in “La Dispute” at the Sydney Theatre Company and starred in a production of Anton Chekov's classic “Three Sisters” at the Sydney Theatre Company.

“'Star Wars,' for me, was very easy in a way because I only had twelve days on set in Sydney and I really just had to stand behind Natalie Portman looking very demure. I didn't have to do much. [laughs] I got the chance to dress-up in really cool costumes.” Rose Byrne

Byrne stepped into Hollywood in 2002 in George Lucas' “Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones,” the fifth film to the Star Wars saga. Byrne, who was cast as Queen Padme Amidala’s (played by Natalie Portman) loyal handmaiden, Dormé, gained recognition although she had no lines and only appeared briefly on screen.

After “Star Wars,” Byrne starred opposite Matt Dillon and James Caan in Dillon's directional debut, “City of Ghosts” (2002), the moody tale of a con man seeking redemption in Cambodia. The next year, she flew to the U.K. to shoot “I Capture the Castle,” Tim Fywell's adaptation of the 1948 novel of the same title by Dodie Smith. In the film, she portrayed Rose Mortmain, the exquisite elder sister to Romola Garai's Cassandra.

“I was in LA. I just arrived. I have an agent there and I was on a trip trying to get work. I was unemployed and it was the first audition I went for, actually. I got off the plane and that night she sent me the script and the next morning I went in and auditioned.” Rose Byrne (on how she got the role in “I Capture the Castle,” 2003)

That same year, Byrne also went back to her home country where she made three films: “The Night We Called It a Day” (starring Dennis Hopper, Melanie Griffith and Portia de Rossi), Paul Goldman's film about Frank Sinatra's tour of Australia in which she played the assistant and love interest to a down-on-his-luck Aussie rock promoter (played by Joel Edgerton), “The Rage In Placid Lake,” writer/director Tony McNamara's exuberant, sharply satirical comedy in which she starred as Gemma Taylor, and “Take Away,” Marc Gracie's comedy movie starring Vince Colosimo and Stephen Curry. Additionally, she starred with Australian musician Darren Hayes in his music video for his single "I Miss You" from the album "Spin," and reunited with Alex Lloyd by appearing in his music video for "1000 Miles" from the album "Distant Light."

After three months of auditions and interviews, Byrne, with the help of fellow Aussie actor Eric Bana, was cast as Briseis, cousin of Hector of Troy (played by Eric Bana), a Trojan queen who was abducted during the Trojan War by Achilles (played by Brad Pitt), in Wolfgang Petersen's Oscar-nominated movie “Troy” (2004). On having a screen test with Brad Pitt, she recalled, “That was pretty nerve-wracking. Auditions are terrible, but when you're doing it with someone with such a profile, it's kind of surreal. He was very nice and I'm looking forward to it. I don't know what to expect. It's such a big film. Again, it's a very small role.”

Byrne then became the woman who manipulated Josh Hartnett in Paul McGuigan's romantic psychological thriller “Wicker Park” (2004), a remake of the 1996 French movie “L'Appartement,” and was trapped in the middle of two novelists (played by Dylan McDermott and Snoop Dogg) in an abandoned New York apartment in Danny Green's “The Tenants” (2005), adapted from the Pulitzer-winning novel from 1971 by Bernard Malamud. She also starred as Edith, opposite David Tennant and Peter O'Toole, in the made-for-television movie “Casanova” (2005).

Writer-director Sofia Coppola cast Byrne as Duchesse de Polignac, a French aristocrat and friend of Marie Antoinette, in the Academy Award winning biopic about the Queen of France, “Marie Antoinette” (2006; Kirsten Dunst took the title role). She then played Leah in writer/director Karen Moncrieff's mystery/thriller, “The Dead Girl” (2006; opposite Toni Collette, Brittany Murphy and Marcia Gay Harden), which was nominated for several 2007 Independent Spirit Awards, including one for Best Feature and Best Director.

2007 saw Byrne in the Danny Boyle produced “28 Weeks Later” (as Scarlett, an army medical officer), a British post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror film and sequel to the 2002 film “28 Days Later,” and the Boyle-directed “Sunshine” (as Cassie the pilot), a sci-fi suspense film.

TV audiences can catch Byrne in the new FX legal drama, "Damages," playing the regular lead role of Ellen Parsons, a young attorney torn between her hard-hitting, high-stakes new boss (played by Glenn Close) and her own ambitions. The show premiered on July 24, 2007.

Commenting on her commitment to a six-year TV contract with FX, Byrne said, “I'd been watching a lot of American TV and I'm a big fan of shows like 'Rescue Me,' 'The Sopranos' and 'Big Love.' I remember thinking I'd love to do something like that because the writing is so great. And cable networks, like FX, give you the freedom, the license to be dark and weird. So many of the film scripts I'd been seeing seemed so safe and homogenized.”

As for her upcoming film work, Byrne has completed “Just Buried,” a dark comedy by writer/director Chaz Thorne in which she will star as a young, bewitching mortician named Roberta, opposite Jay Baruchel and Graham Greene. About the film, Byrne revealed, “It's a great little dark comedy that I shot in Halifax (Nova Scotia) and all around there last November. It's with this really great young Canadian actor named Jay Baruchel who was just in ‘Knocked Up’ and ‘Million Dollar Baby.’ He's a really super funny guy. We just got into Toronto actually, so it's going to be premiering there. It's about a funeral director. I play a mortician who works at the funeral home that's inherited by Jay's character. I haven't seen the film yet, but it's very dark and funny and it was beautiful. I loved Halifax. I thought it was such a charismatic place.”

She will also star in an upcoming Australian film by writer/director Jonathan Ogilvie, “The Tender Hook,” which tells the story of a love triangle set in Sydney’s criminal boxing underworld in the 1920s. Byrne will play the female lead of Iris, a young woman torn between the love/power triangle involving an English con man (played by Hugo Weaving) and an honest, young boxer (played by Matthew Le Nevez).

“I guess you can get to a level where you choose. I guess when you reach that point maybe you start making decisions about whether you want to be a leading man or woman. I'm not at that point at all. Where I am now, you're very much at everybody else's mercy. You have no control over your career in a lot of ways. It's just important to know what your own goals are because that's empowering.” Rose Byrne


Awards:

  • Venice Film Festival: Best Actress, “The Goddess of 1967,” 2000

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