The lead actress of Knowing visits Dublin for some fortune telling action
Rose Byrne is an actress with a pretty impressive CV. She’s been in Star Wars, Troy, 28 Weeks Later and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine. Yet it wasn’t until she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in the Glenn Close legal drama ‘Damages’ that Hollywood really took notice, she’s now set to step into the limelight. Her first major leading lady role is in ‘Knowing’, which opens in Ireland this weekend.
The Nicolas Cage starring movie comes from Alex Proyas, a director who doesn’t like straight forward story telling and knowing is far from straight forward. It mixes action with sci-fi, aliens, major disasters, predicting the future, plane crashes and did we mention aliens?
There is three times more plot crammed into it than you’d find in your average summer movie, quite a lot to deal with in your first leading role. So what did Rose Byrne make of it all? Movies.ie met her on a promotional trip to Dublin.
Q: Is this your first time in Ireland?
I’ve been here once before, I drove around the country for ten days with my partner about five years ago. We went to Limerick, Galway, Cork, Kerry and Dublin. It was beautiful, we had the most terrific weather at the ring of Kerry, it was like we were at the Greek islands or something.
Q: What was it that attracted you to this project? Was it the chance to work with cult director Alex Proyas, the chance to work with actor Nicholas Cage or was it the script?
Alex and I had met before on some other stuff, he’s a fellow Australian, I’d wanted to work with him for some time, I’m a big fan of his films. I read the script in one go and loved, it was very intriguing. While it was sinister it was also uplifting. I had huge empathy for my character Diana, she’s a really complicated three dimensional character, whereas often in a big film like this the female role can be pretty one dimensional and not challenging, she was the opposite.
I felt really blessed to be part of the film to be honest, it was during the writers strike, so there was very little in production. I do a TV show called ‘Damages’ that takes up half of my year so there’s very little I can do in terms of scheduling. Also I’m a huge fan of Nicholas Cage, what an incredible actor with such a luminous career, we got to work very closely together.
Q: Knowing topped the US box office at the weekend with 24.8 million – Did you expect it to be as big as turned out?
It was always trying to go for a big audience. I think Nick Cage is in his element with a big audience, like he did the National Treasure films and Ghost Rider. They were really hoping for an opening like that, so I’m sure they were sighing with relief.
Q: The movie starts out as an exciting thriller with chases and explosions and lots of eye candy but turns heavly towards sci-fi towards the end, were you worried about the mixing of two different genres?
Alex Pryos deals with a lot of science fiction and super natural, he’s made movies like ‘The Crow’ and ‘IRobot’ so I knew if anyone could pull it off then he could. I wasn’t involved in a lot of the supernatural stuff, so when I saw the film I was so impressed with how he set the tone that it’s already pretty eerie before the final moments. When the ending comes along its radical but the tone is already set for him to pull it off.
Q: The film features some very impressive action sequences, including the most spectacular plane crash ever seen on movie screens. When reading the script was it possible to get a grip on just how spectacular some of these sequences would be?
I’m terrible at reading scripts, I can never get a proper visual for things. It’s one of my weakest points. I was so blown away by the finished sequences, they’re very confronting, very unnerving, real action. I wasn’t there on the days when they were shooting them, I was like any other audience member when I saw them and I felt like my head was being blown off.
Q: Were the action scenes the most fun or the most stressful to shoot?
I like action because it gets you out of your head, I love doing the physical stuff, its very instinctual and more freeing in a way. I would have liked to have done more, most of my stuff was very serious and dark so the little bit of action I had I really enjoyed.
Q: The movies ending is quite unpredictable and different to a typical blockbuster. Do you think Hollywood movies have to be this clever these days to give the audience the unexpected?
I think so, audiences are so smart to the point of being cynical and savvy especially young audiences, they’re incredibly hard to impress. They’re a generation who have seen it all. There is a big pressure on film makers to push the boundaries on each new movie.
Q: You have a big part in the US legal drama ‘Damages’, which seen you get nominated for a Golden Globe award. Is it difficult to juggle your TV career with big movie blockbusters?
We do 13 episodes a season, so it’s about 6 months of the year, which is good because it frees me up to hopeful do something in the hiatus. I’m quite grateful for the show because I think its given me a platform that I didn’t have beforehand. I had been doing smaller roles in big films and big roles in small films, so I’m
grateful for what its done for my career and also I just love the work, I love the show. I’m a big series watcher myself, so I’m proud to be part of one. I do miss the director driven medium of film but I was very lucky in my hiatus between season one and two I did nine and I have another film coming out called Adam with Hugh Dancy. So now I’m on a hiatus again so I’m hoping to get something but its a bit hard because the strike with the Screen Actors Guild, its a bit of an unsettling time in the industry. When you sign on to do a show that’s the risk you take, you have to keep diverse and come back with some fresh energy.
Knowing is at Irish cinemas everywhere now