It’s almost weird to go back and look at all the great (or, at the very least, interesting) movies Rose Byrne was in before her career exploded a few years ago. There’s Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. In 2007 she also stared in the sequel to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later. That same year she starred in a Danny Boyle’s pretty close to a masterpiece Sunshine. (And, yes, if you go back far enough, she’s in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, but we’ll get to that.)
Byrne’s career is so diverse (yes, most audiences probably now know her for comedy, but a lot of her earlier work was not) it’s hard to pinpoint a turning point – the movie that changed everything for her. From the outside looking in it might be easy to think it was Bridesmaids, but according to Byrne, instead it was Nicholas Stoller’s sort of sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek.
Byrne is starring alongside Mark Wahlberg in the upcoming Instant Family. A warning, this movie just might get you. Based on director Sean Anders’ actual experiences adopting three kids, it’s certainly a funny movie, but its themes about family and not having anyone to care for, or, in turn, not having anyone to care for you do have the ability to activate the waterworks.
I met Rose Byrne at an Upper West Side hotel on a rainy New York Saturday. In person, Byrne always seems more comfortable talking about others than she does talking about herself, which as a human being is a positive attribute, but I can’t turn in an interview titled, “Here’s what Rose Byrne thinks about Mark Wahlberg.” But the truth is, Byrne has had, and is having, a fascinating career. And once she starts talking about it, she has a lot of interesting things to say.
This movie just wrecked me.
I thought it would be a good laugh.
Then you’re like, oh my gosh! It was like that reading it.
I read it and then I gave it to my husband, Bobby, to read. He was just a mess. He was like, this is going to be amazing.
It’s been an emotional year for me after losing my father. So here’s a movie about parents, and getting older without having kids yet, then adopting kids and then I’m like, “Oh, I’m getting older and I don’t have kids…”
I think it’s wonderful that you felt moved by it and you were confronted by it. It is a deceiving film because it is funny. It gets you in with the laughs and then sort of punches you in the gut with the heart and the emotions – before you know it you’re really shattered by the whole thing.
I don’t think I’ve ever cried during a movie starring Mark Wahlberg before.
[Laughs] People are funny today! Audiences love him. He’s very vulnerable in this movie.
But people love you, too. I have heard people refer to this as the “Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne” movie, or vice versa.
You’re a famous actor now. But you know that.
I’m very, very aware of things that come my way, and things that don’t, and what I have access to in my career and everything. With Mark, he really opens doors to a certain kind of audience that I think will see this movie.
Are you saying that you think there’s gonna be a new audience to see you? Because I don’t think that’s true. I think people going to see this have seen you in a bunch of movies and already like you.
Well, with a film like this, which rides the line of being a message film, I don’t think that it doesn’t hit you over the head.
It hit me, to be fair…
I mean that in a positive way. It sure made me feel emotions.
It gets you in its grip. I want it to just be seen as much as it can. It’s got the power to really change things and just try to start any conversations. Kids in foster care lose that stigma which they have. It’s so unfair.
You are one of my favorite actors working, so to see you share scenes Julie Hagerty and Joan Cusack in this was pretty great.
Sean felt the same way. Sean Anders loves Airplane! and loves all of Joan’s films. That was such a big deal for him to be able to get Joan. He’s a huge fan. He was very excited about that.
From the outside looking in you seem to have the acting career in the way it’s supposed to work. In that you do great work and over the years you’ve become more and more recognized for your work.
Slow and steady!