Rose Byrne on Her First Audition, Broadway and the Science of Comedy

Actress Rose Byrne

“I think comedy is very hard. It’s very scientific getting the beats of it” – Rose Byrne

When Rose Byrne began her career as an actress, she probably didn’t expect how often she would end up being cast in comedies. However, after 2010’s Get Him to the Greek and 2011’s Bridesmaids, Byrne has become something of a go-too actress for comedic performances. However, outside of film Byrne has also appeared in television roles and even on Broadway, which has helped her become such a well-developed actress. Speaking with Interview magazine, Byrne elaborates on her approaches to the many different facets of her career and how she has embraced them.

Speaking of her success with comedies, Byrne says she finds acting in a comedy movie challenging. She explains, “I think comedy is very hard. It’s very scientific getting the beats of it. Comedy and drama are challenging in different ways, but they come from the same place. The stakes are very high when something’s funny and the stakes also have to be high for something to be dramatic.”

Byrne’s first professional audition as a young teenager was a success. She recalls, “I was at the Australian Theatre for Young People, which is a theater school in Sydney for extra curricular classes. A casting agent came in from a Sydney casting company and got me in to audition for this film that Sandra Bernhard (1994’s Dallas Doll) was coming in to do in Australia. I went in and I got a few callbacks and then got the part.” Unlike other young actors, she says that she never felt intimidated. She explains, “I wasn’t that nervous at that age. It was really exciting and fascinating—all these people and cameras and boxes and cords. It felt very adult, I suppose. It was an eye-opening experience at that age. I was just 13 and I was realizing that I could do this for a job.”

While Byrne was pursuing a career in film, she was also starring in the television series Damages with Glenn Close from 2007-2012. Byrne confesses that she never worried about being labeled a “TV actor” because the script for the pilot of Damages was so good. She says, “I reached out to my agent about [doing television]. I had put it on the radar, because I had watched a lot of stuff. Then Damages came my way and I knew Glenn was attached. The pilot was just so tight and so thrilling and exciting, and the potential for what would happen to these characters, so I went in for it. I’m so thrilled it worked out because it was a fantastic role and it just got better and better as the season went on.”

On top of that, Byrne also appeared on Broadway in the 2014 production of You Can’t Take It With You. She recalls, “I had done theater in Australia for the Sydney Theatre Company, but the last show I’d done was about 12 years before You Can’t Take It Without You.” Because of that, Byrne admits that she was a bit off her live performance game when she took the role. She says, “I was extremely grateful for the five weeks of previews you get on Broadway before opening night, and the ensemble cast was so nurturing and kind to me. I had a really beautiful experience. Half the fun is being in this group and presenting something every night as a team. It’s a very sacred experience. It’s very cohesive and everybody is there together to bring this thing to life. There’s a riskiness to it, and the risk factor in theater is quite exciting. Anything could happen, someone could just not show up and what are you going to do?”

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