Well this is a strange one. Just a few weeks ago, when the first trailer was released for This is Where I Leave You I was wondering if it was now obligatory to cast Rose Byrne in your film if you were making a film. Because she’s one of those actresses who still isn’t super famous, but everyone knows her face and it feels like she crops up in EVERYTHING. Of course, a quick perusal of her IMDB profile reveals that it just seems that way – to me, anyway – and her filmography isn’t nearly as prolific as I was expecting it to be, but nonetheless, she has been working really steadily for the last few few years, churning out two or three films a year, along with various tv cameos and her break-out tv show, Damages, which ran from 2007-2012.
The other thing her filmography reveals is that she’s been playing it pretty smart, opting for a mix of leading lady roles in some reasonably high profile releases (Insidious), playing as part of an ensemble in some very high profile films (Bridesmaids), stretching her comedy muscles in the likes of Get Him to the Greek and this summer’s Bad Neighbours, and showing up in smaller parts in credible indy films like The Place Beyond the Pines and the aforementioned This Is Where I Leave You.
That kind of resumé also shows a refreshing lack of ego for someone who could have attempted to use Damages as a launch pad to one good leading role, and then held out forever waiting for more leading opportunities to come along, aka the Jessica Biel approach. Jessica’s IMDB profile says she’s one of the most in-demand actresses in Hollywood, but her filmography reveals otherwise. Biel is so convinced that small parts are beneath her that she’s standing idly by and watching her acting career go down the toilet, but hey, she’s standing there in Chanel with Justin Timberlake by her side, so why should she care, right?
Well, she claims to care, but she also claims she’s too gorgeous and Hollywood doesn’t know what to do with her, and she claims the scripts aren’t out there. But the truth is they are – they’re just not coming her way, because while she was sitting around waiting for roles that were appropriate for a star of her standing, Rose Byrne was making her name in TV, making very smart decisions, making her mark in a particular genre of comedy, and basically becoming one of the most reliable and genuinely in-demand actresses in her and Jessica’s age group.
As Cathy Schulman, head of Women In Film (pictured above) pointed out, Rose Byrne is “equally capable in specialized film and blockbusters. She’s really interested in playing women who have relevant roles, choices that make a difference…” so while Jessica Biel opened two Tiffany stores this year, Rose Byrne opened one of the surprise hits of the summer in Bad Neighbours, and got an award from Women In Film.
Which brings me full circle. It’s a strange one because the award she got was the Max Mara “Face of the Future” award, and to me Rose Byrne is very much a face of the present – she’s happening right now, and she’s been quietly happening for a while. Even she seemed a little perplexed by it, joking that, at 34, “I think I’m sort of the middle-aged future, perhaps,” but more seriously she acknowledged the continued under-representation of women in Hollywood, saying “It’s a powerful business we’re in, with a loud voice. It’s imperative we realize women are consumers just as much as men, and have our stories told and audiences embraced.”
Variety describes her as being “at a turning point in her career with comedy at the center”, and maybe this award is a signifier of that; maybe it’ll elevate her beyond “I know her from something” status. Or, maybe Max Mara just like her style and fancied dressing her for a bit. You know who else likes her style? Me!
She’s one of those actresses that always quietly impresses on the red carpet, but again, she’s kind of low-key and I really didn’t put together just how consistently she nails it until I started looking for images to go with this post. She’s been working with stylist Penny Lovell for a while, and over the past few years she’s gone from having quite a girly look, to a cleaner, more sophisticated style with a definite retro edge.
We all have our spiritual style homes, and I would wager Rose Byrne’s is Studio 54. She’s a fiend for some sparkle, but she does it in a very sleek and understated way, and when she does go for girlish details or prints, she keeps the cuts very contemporary. She also doesn’t shy away from bright colours, but knows that keeping the shape simple and unfussy is the best approach.
In short, she’s kind of perfect, and it’s not clear if the endorsement of Max Mara will be an on-going partnership, but she was at the brand’s fashion show in February (in a beautifully draped blazer that I want, some perfectly cut wide legged trousers that would eat me alive, and a gold lamé vest that helps her make the look her own) so it seems that this has been in the works for a while.
It’s not a pairing that would have immediately sprung to mind, but based on the two looks she wore this week, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if we saw her in more Max Mara. The navy and black sequined dress she wore to Tuesday’s even in her honour is very much in sync with the kind of chic, sparkly cocktail dresses she favours, and I always love how some black beading brings out the blue in navy blue, which is softer and easier to wear than plain black.
The silver jump suit is a bit more adventurous, and this is in keeping with that Studio 54 vibe she likes. I’m not crazy about the cut of the trousers, I think they’re creating a bit too much bulk in the hip and tummy area.
I love the idea of it though, it’s very her, although not very Max Mara… a brand I think of as being quite safe and dull – dare I say “older” than this. But if they’re looking to appeal to a new type of customer, this foray into Hollywood is a really smart move for them, and as I’ve argued before, actresses partnering with fashion brands is always mutually beneficial. Rose Byrne is about to discover the perks of being a fashion girl, and after many years of paying her dues, the world is about to discover Rose Byrne.
Below, the trailer for Rose Byrne’s upcoming This is Where I Leave You, co-starring Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda, Adam driver, Connie Britton and many more…