Rose Byrne has always been ahead of the curve


It’s done, and we were so thrilled. We didn’t know if we were going to get it. Like everyone else, I had just been so overwhelmed by his tour de force in The White Lotus, and we couldn’t believe it. And then it came and it’s a dream boat. And he disturbed and he did all these things. It kind of sets that bar for Sheila to try to achieve in her mentor part, rival part, mystery and intrigue that surrounds her. We get another really good episode later in the season, which is even more – it breaks all the rules of conventional television.

The way Sheila moves, finds herself through movement, it’s a really fascinating way to unlock a character, I think for both the viewers and the actor. The physique always comes with the job, to some extent, but how has that process been for you, getting that kind of acting challenge, which doesn’t come along too often?

No. And the thing is, I’m profoundly uncoordinated. I am not a natural dancer. I have two left feet. So the training started early and luckily Sheila isn’t confident at first, but she has a dance background. So all of those things that inform how someone comes across as a dancer is such a specific type of character. You immediately know someone who has been a dancer or has been a dancer. Personally, I love the physique so much as an actress – it’s such a fun and challenging thing. It’s not just about the aerobics physically, but about how she sits herself in her physical body and how disconnected she is from it. There are several layers. I feel spoiled for the fun of it all.

It reminds me of other roles you’ve played where the way the character behaves could be a really big contributing factor. Bridesmaids feels like an obvious example in a way, because she’s so

Royal. [Laughs]

Not a hair moved.

It was fun doing Gloria Steinem because it was so specific, the way she walked and talked. And it’s funny with these historical plays when you’re playing real people, it’s like some people show up and you’re like, ‘This is it. This is who I am,” and other people play in a very immersive way. It’s how every actor calibrates it when you’re playing a real person. I had never really had this specific challenge before.

Which side did you lean on? I feel like in this show, between the actors, you had a mix of both approaches.

Yes. She is so striking and specific in her figure, from her voice to her body to her hair, everything, I just leaned in as much as possible.

We’re talking about the day Roe vs. Wade has been officially cancelled.

Yes, we are. I’m not going to lie, it was a hard, crushing blow. Look, for every woman in the world, when America, the kind of leader of… well, are we going to go down that road? Because it’s so sad. It is so.


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