actress Rose Byrne has done just about everything in her young
career Ė TV, movies, comedy, drama, period pieces, blockbusters,
indies, horror Ė but Insidious: Chapter 2 is the first time
she has revisited a character in a sequel.
shocking that an actress who is so young has been working for almost
20 years and done well over 40 roles, including such diverse smashes
as Bridesmaids, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Troy, The
Interns, The Place Beyond the Pines, Get Him to the Greek, X-Men:
First Class and the popular TV series Damages.
However, the tiny 2011 horror film Insidious has become one
of her most beloved films and has now sparked a reprise.
Insidious: Chapter 2 starts where the first film left off, with
Byrne as Renai, a wife and mother trying to save her family from a
demonic force which is haunting them and has possessed her husband
(played by Patrick Wilson).
A couple of weeks
before Insidious: Chapter 2 hit the multiplexes, we sat down
with Byrne to discuss the film and her career.
Your character got knocked around a lot
more in this sequel. How much was it stunt doubles and how much was
have a stunt double for a few things. Like when the shelf falls over
with all the tools in the basement. A couple of things I can think
of. Patrick pushing her. Then a bunch of it I did myself. Iím one of
those actresses who hits with the frying pan and then comes over and
says, "Iím so sorry!" They are like, "Iím all right." But this movie
is like an action [movie]. Particularly for Renai [her character]
and the kids it was. About half way through the shoot we started
doing that whole sequence. It was a different kind of work out. Itís
pretty draining by the end of the day. You are pretty tired from the
physical stuff. But itís a lot of fun, too, because you get out of
your head. Itís more intuitive, because are running, which is always
Do you believe in ghosts and spirits?
never had an encounter. When it happens, I am well up for it and
ready. But, Iíve not seen them around me. I like horror movies. The
good ones, I'm a fan of a good scare.
Whatís your favorite horror movie?
The Shining is probably the classic that terrified me when I
was little. Then, I liked Nightmare on Elm Street, the
original. Silent Night, Deadly Night. Old school, when I was
growing up. I used to love that stuff.
Did you find yourself ever getting too
scared by horror films?
pretty good. No. Anything too out there. Itís more of those films
about serial killers. Or this Australian film called Snowtown,
which is based loosely on a true story in Adelaide, Australia.
Thatís probably the scariest film Iíve ever seen because itís based
on a true story. Itís about these murders in Australia. It was
terrifying. (laughs) I actually couldnít watch it. I turned
it off. That was the scariest film I've ever seen.
Itís a bit of a surprise to hear your
Australian accent. I knew you were from Australia, but in the movie
you donít sound like it at all. You never get a chance to use it in
Whatís it like doing this movie with an
American accent? Does it come easily for you?
does. I love doing the accent. Iím a fan of it. I did a television
show for five years [Damages] and so that was really great
training in terms of getting more natural with it. It helps getting
into character. And to distance myself from myself. Yeah, I like
With such an intense shoot what are you
doing off-camera and off-set to relax?
set? Just a lot of heroin. (laughs)
Seriously, though. Were you listening to
music, watching moviesÖ
the pace is so fast, so we would just retreat into our corners and
re-charge a little bit and have your space. Then you go back into it
again. It was great because the pace is fast. There wasnít too much
waiting around. What leads to frustration sometimes on a set is the
waiting. I did the TV series for years and that pace is fantastic.
You get used to working like that. It was a quick shoot, there
wasnít a huge budget, so we kept a pretty fast clip. Yeah. I didn't
really do heroin. (laughs again)
Talk about working with the baby girl in
the movie, who plays your youngest child?
were three different babies. Man, they were tricky. One didnít want
to be there. She was screaming relentlessly. The other two; one was
pretty good and the other was like 50-50. Could go either way. That
was the biggest challenge. The babies. That was hard. That was
Lately, youíve been doing some lighter
comic work, so how is it different doing a film like this or even a
Place Beyond the Pines, compared to the lighter work? Do you find
comedy easier or harder? Or drama easier?
think comedy is harder for me. Iím still pretty new to it. Thatís a
different sort of energy that you have to keep up all day, of
improvising. A different part of your brain that you have to access.
For me itís still new. So to me comedy is really hard. Itís like
doing a drama and then on top of that you have to get a laugh.
Really, comedy and horror are sort of like... when you see a horror
film or you see a comedy and you are talking with friends you say,
"Is it funny?" or "Is it scary?" Thatís what matters.
They're both trying to get emotional
Itís very authentic in the reaction. You can hear it straight away
if itís working in both genres. Hard comedy and hard horror films,
they have that same thing. But yeah, I think comedy is really hard.
I admire actors who are so effortlessly comedic. They make it look
easy, but itís actually very hard.
One of the things I think people will
like about this movie is that it goes beyond the horror movie
clichťs, the subtext is the story of mothers. You are playing
someone who has a child who was possessed in the past; Barbara
Hershey plays the mother of a child who was possessed. How did you
approach the character in this sense? How she deals with the problem
within the family?
[Director] James [Wan] was really helpful in that sense. I kept
asking him, "How are we going to ground this in reality?" He said it
\was like Josh [who is possessed] is having an affair. If anyone has
seen the last film they know this is what's happening in this film.
So it was grounding it in that. Slowly realizing that. Obviously her
children being her main focus of protection and keeping the family
alive and all that. Trying to protect them. She does allow [her son}
to go in and save Josh. There was a moment I was asking James, "What
is the rational decision-making she is doing here?" And he said, "It
is a risk, but she is doing it to save the family in the long term."
Because of what they had just been through she just knows there is
an element of this that is out of her control. She has to really
trust him and his access to that world.
I liked the scene that you had with
Barbara Hershey. That was really great.
thanks. Yeah, she is great. Barbara, I don't know if you've ever
interviewed her, but she is really dynamic and really smart. Such as
cool actress to work with.
Which of the sets in
Insidious 2 gave you the chills the most? The guyís house, the
hospital or your house?
of them are like a palace I got to tell you. (laughs) They
were all pretty [bad]. The dust is what kills us at the hospital.
That dust was intense. You are just coughing and everybody is
coughing. You canít see anything. That gets a little rough. But,
yes, the house is pretty creepy. They scout these most incredible
locations. These houses they find are just wild. They are so... just
strange. Not my cup of tea. Just really atmospheric. The hospital
was pretty strange. It was also in a strange part of LA which added
to it. So, I think the hospital was a little bit weird. And there is
something about a hospital which is like "Whoa, what has been
through here?" So many lives and deaths. It is pretty potent.
Given you have been in so many movie and
TV projects, when fans come up to you what are they talking about?
Damages? Bridesmaids? Something else?
depends on the age demographic. (laughs) It really does.
People usually think they know me. Ask "Do I know you?" and my
accent throws them off. But usually itís Bridesmaids that was
such a successful film that was seen by a lot of people. So
statistically thatís the highest one. But Insidious is really
popular with young kids, really. Boys, itís huge. They love this
genre. My boyfriendís son was a big fan of Insidious. Itís
nice. Iím always flattered when people know me for my work.
Do you get stopped by fans differently
in Australia than America?
really. Iíve been lucky I think that Iíve been generally under the
radar. Within certain circles in Australia. The industry is
certainly smaller. And obviously the population is a lot less. But
Iíve always been pretty under the radar in terms of visibility and
people instantly knowing me. I live a very normal life. I donít get
followed around or any of that stuff. Thatís when people become
super recognizable and stuff thatís when that happens.
I loved your character in
Him to the Greek. Was that a fun role to play?
thank you. It was so much fun. I just loved playing Jackie Q. It was
really fun. She was so flamboyant and bizarre and narcissistic.
(laughs) Kind of wild, and wildly different to me. It was great
fun. Really fun. And it was a comedy, which was very exciting to be
a part of. It was one of my first ones.
Do you have a project you are looking
forward to doing?
just wrapped a film called Townies opposite Seth Rogan. I
worked with Nick Stoller, the director of Get Him to the Greek,
so that was great to be reunited with Nick. That comes out in the
new year, so I am excited to see that. About a young couple and a
baby. Iím excited to see that.
Is there truth about the rumor of you
being involved with the film re-make of Annie?
(laughs) I think I can say that now. We are starting [soon].
I am playing the role of Grace, who works with Benjamin Stacks who
is Jamie Foxxís character.
How is the singing going? I think people
will be looking forward to that.
just dipping my toe into the whole thing. So Iím just starting. We
will have to see how that all unfolds. Itís very exciting.
They sort of hinted at the end
of Insidious: Chapter 2 that they will be moving over to a new
family for potential future chapters. So are you glad that your
character will finally get some rest? Will it be weird to see a
different family in the series?
wish them the best of luck. (laughs) And I can offer them a
good marriage counselor. They should be so lucky. I was so lucky to
be a part of these two films. I really was. The first one was a tiny
film that we did with no money and no time and it was really
successful. It was so encouraging and really inspiring to do another
one. I feel really lucky to have been a part of even two of them.
Can you compare your dream of an acting
career to the reality that it is today? Did you have a certain
mindset back then? A big dream?
always wanted to act. I wasnít really sure. You never really know
starting out what will unfold and where the road will go. I sort of
bungled along a little bit in terms of like coming to America and
getting jobs. Small roles in big films and bigger roles in small
films. Stuff like that. The ability with acting, if you are lucky
enough to be a working actor, [the idea] is to work everywhere. To
be a chameleon and try to work in lots of different films or plays
all over the world. That always really excited me about the job and
the potential. Thatís something thatís been really exciting, to have
the privilege to work in lots of different places with lots of
different artists. That was such an ineloquent, unerudite answer. I
With Labor Day around the corner and
summer coming to a close, is there anything else you want to do this
summer that you havenít done?
would like to go to Coney Island. I havenít been there for about ten
years. I think Iím due a visit. Being a New Yorker and all.
Are you a big fan of the rides?
like the rides. I do. I really havenít been there for a while, so it
would be interesting to go down there again.
How about your next time in Australia,
when do you return?
Christmas, hopefully, yeah. I miss it. Itís winter there now. Itís
beautiful. Itís really a lovely time of year.
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