ROSE Byrne has had enough of being serious. So often cast as dark and depressed characters, she’s now ready to smile.
"I’m really keen on this show Flight Of The Conchords,” she enthuses.
"I’m mad about it. It’s absolutely hilarious.”
Byrne has even more reason to smile these days.
Her acting career is on full throttle thanks to the US TV series Damages and another big film, The Tender Hook, being released next month and she’s also managing to snatch more time with her boyfriend, actor/writer Brendan Cowell.
"It’s been fine,” she says of long-distance love.
"I was in Australia for six months and he’s here now.
"We don’t have to do the long distance thing that much any more.”
Byrne is also enjoying another love affair – with New York. Her home is a high-rise apartment in Manhattan, overlooking the leafy branches, which she describes as her "tree house”.
And the 29-year-old can enjoy it even more as she enjoys a break before shooting of the second season of the law drama Damages, in which she stars with Glenn Close and Ted Danson.
Byrne has enjoyed extraordinary success in the last few years, with roles in productions such as British zombie flick 28 Weeks Later, Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette and Troy, in which she famously kissed Brad Pitt.
Not bad for a girl whose childhood ambition was to star in Neighbours alongside Kylie Minogue.
But right now she’s on the phone promoting a very different Australian drama, which she filmed with Hugo Weaving in Melbourne last year.
The Tender Hook is set in Sydney’s boxing underworld, where glamour and frivolity meet rough punches, match-fixing and racism.
And if you think Rose Byrne is glamorous – you should see her dressed up as a 1920s femme fatale.
The film is intelligent and beautifully shot. Written and directed by Jonathan Ogilvie, it features a bunch of familiar Australian faces, one of whom is Pia Miranda, of Looking For Alibrandi fame.
Weaving, she describes as "passionate”.
"He brings such weight and gravitas to what he does. They were so lucky to get him.”
To research her character, Byrne delved into Sydney’s murky past and came across characters such as Tilly Devine, who was a notorious brothel owner.
Iris is much more of a quiet force, appearing to sit on the sidelines of the ring although, emotionally, she’s right in the centre of it, caught in a love triangle between handsome boxer Art (Matthew Le Nevez) and Hugo Weaving’s nasty boss, McHeath.
"It was a departure in a lot of ways,” Byrne says of the role.
"I often play the younger girl or the ingenue, so it was good to play a woman coming into her own. I love the aspect of the femme fatale and I loved that she was this impeccable poised woman who had such status. That was really cool.”
Has her life turned out the way she expected it?
"I don’t feel like I’ve arrived anywhere in particular,” she laughs. I still feel like I’m figuring out life.
"I didn’t get the manual.”
The Tender Hook is out on September 18.