Though Australian-born actress Rose Byrne made her film debut in 1994, when she played a supporting role in the eccentric drama Dallas Doll alongside Sandra Bernhard and Jake Blundell, her breakout performances within her native country were both on the small screen; namely, in the soap opera Echo Point and the long-running drama series Heartbreak High. After developing a fan base and gaining some critical recognition, Byrne was cast alongside fellow Aussie Heath Ledger in Two Hands (1999), which featured the actress playing an innocent country girl whose would-be suitor has unwittingly found himself in the midst of a mafia scandal. Though she undoubtedly caught the eye of American filmmakers after Two Hands' premiere at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, Byrne wouldn't appear in an American film until several years later, when she made a very small appearance in a very big movie -- Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones. However, before Star Wars, Byrne starred in two little-known, but nonetheless significant, Australian parts, including her first lead role in The Goddess of 1967 (2000), in which she portrayed a blind, emotionally unstable orphan, and My Mother Frank, which featured her as the unrequited love interest of a pining college student. After the 2002 release of Attack of the Clones, Byrne could be seen in a minor but indelible supporting role in Matt Dillon's City of Ghosts. Byrne went on to perform in two critically acclaimed Australian features -- The Rage in Placid Lake (2003) and The Night We Called It a Day (2003) -- as well as the U.K. release I Capture the Castle (2003), in which she co-starred as the beautiful daughter of a once-grand English family. In 2004, Byrne played a supporting role in Wolfgang Petersen's big-budget historical epic Troy, and went on to star with Josh Hartnett, Matthew Lillard, and Troy alumna Diane Kruger in director Paul McGuigan's thriller Wicker Park. In 2006 she was cast in a supporting role in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. In 2007 she had a hit on the small-screen as one of the leads in the series Damages. Although she continued to work steadily in movies as well, she didn't find herself in a big hit until 2011 when she was one of the main characters in the Oscar nominated comedy Bridesmaids. That same year she also appeared in X-Men: First Class as Dr. Moira MacTaggert.
photo credit: Evan Agostini/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
by Tracie Cooper biography