With a riotous movie hitting theatres, cool-girl Rose Byrne is ready to let loose.
Though she doesn’t look it, Rose Byrne is tired. She has just spent 24 hours trapped on one circling, snow-delayed flight after another, trying to get back to New York from Max Mara’s show at Milan Fashion Week.
She’s standing in the midst of a chic New York gallery, flanked by fine art, the eerily cheery glow of neon radiating against her skin. A freezing breeze sweeps in from outside, ruffling the scant Paule Ka top she’s wearing. A couple just tottered in off the street, hoping to check out the art show, inadvertently walking into our fashion shoot. I brace myself for Byrne to bristle—either at the cold or because she’s exhausted, or because two strangers are strolling around the set, stepping blithely over cords. Instead, she just smiles.
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“New York is fantastic,” she says with a laugh. “People don’t care who you are when you’re walking around the streets.”
That kind of unflappable cool is what her character is searching for in her latest film, Neighbors. Byrne and Seth Rogen play a couple desperately trying to convince themselves that getting married, having a baby and moving to the suburbs hasn’t killed any youthful edge they’re clinging to. (“This is happening!” yells Rogen when they have sex.) When a noisy fraternity—helmed by Zac Efron, whose abs ripple like a Ruffles chip—moves in next door, it seems like a chance for the couple to redeem their lost youth, before the situation rapidly descends into all-out war, suburbia-style.
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There was a time when Byrne was “far more interested in being taken seriously.” Born in Sydney, Australia, she moved to New York and made her name in 2007 as Ellen Parsons in the hit suspense series Damages alongside Glenn Close. That was before she slipped Valiums to Kristen Wiig when she played the uptight Helen in Bridesmaids and before she brain-shamed Owen Wilson in The Internship. “Once I got the opportunity to do something funny, I realized that it’s actually so much harder,” she explains when we talk again a week after the shoot. “Well, hard for me,” she adds, letting out a soft, kind-of-self-deprecating laugh that punctuates many of her statements.
Rose Byrne chats with us about her love life on the next page...