In a short span of time, Rose Byrne has conquered nearly every genre of film. She has succeeded in pushing the boundaries by playing larger-than-life characters in comedies and grounding herself in dramas.
Whether it’s a raucous comedy like “Get Him to the Greek” or “Neighbors,” or a sophisticated period piece like “Marie Antoinette,” Byrne always seems to tackle each project with as much enthusiasm as the last.
In “The Meddler,” Byrne takes on an untapped subject she hasn’t explored before — a mother-daughter relationship. Being a new mom herself, Byrne dove into the personal story by director/writer Lorene Scafaria.
In the dramedy, Byrne plays Lori, a young woman at a crossroads in her personal life. To make matters worse, her mother, Marnie (Susan Sarandon), is a meddler to the nth degree — she moves from the East Coast to Los Angeles to intrude in her daughter’s life.
Although the film has plenty of comedic moments thanks to Sarandon’s stellar portrayal of a neurotic overbearing mother, the center of the film is the story of how two grown women deal with coping — or not coping — with the loss a loved one.
amNewYork sat down with Byrne to talk about “The Meddler,” which is playing at the Tribeca Film Festival and opens wide on Friday.
How do you choose which projects to say yes to?
It depends generally on what comes your way and what doesn’t. I like to do something I haven’t done before — that’s really scary — and this is right up that alley. It was such an honor to get to do this big story, and to work with Lorene. This job was a no-brainer because I’ve never played this relationship before between a parent and a child and [it was about] finding out what that entails.
At the heart of this story, it’s a mother and daughter love story in many ways. Did this reflect on your relationship with your parents?
I’m the youngest of four so my relationship with my parents is different. They’re very quiet, but that’s not to say that they wouldn’t do anything for me. They’re very loving and supportive. I think the film is universal. It’s funny, it’s a comedy, but it still has those very moving moments. It makes the movie very authentic.
Was it daunting to act opposite someone like Susan Sarandon who’s this larger than life figure?
It was brilliant. I was nervous but I found her so inspiring. She’s so cool, she’s very warm, funny, and she’s eccentric. She has tremendous passion.