From a café in Sydney, the Australian actress, who plays an aerobics guru on the Apple TV+ series “Physical,” discusses Vegemite, spandex, and her preference for Iyengar yoga.
By Naomi FryJune 12, 2021
It was the first day of June, and Rose Byrne, the Australian actress, had a voluminous houndstooth scarf wrapped around her neck. “It’s not New York winter, but it’s actually quite cold here,” she said, speaking over Zoom. “I had to go to Uniqlo and buy a big puffer.” (In her mellifluous accent, the word sounded more like “puffah.”) Byrne, who is usually based in Brooklyn, was in Sydney, where she grew up, and where she had arrived some weeks earlier, along with her partner, the American actor Bobby Cannavale, and the couple’s two young boys. They had spent a fortnight observing Australia’s ultra-strict quarantine edicts. (“Hotel, police, the whole thing. That’s why Australia has been so incredibly successful in dealing with covid,” Byrne said.) She had just done “preschool drop-off and all that jazz” and was walking over to the Sydney Theatre Company, where she had made her stage début, at twenty, and where, last year, she and Cannavale were supposed to star together in Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge,” until that plan was scuttled by the pandemic.
Apart from the scarf, Byrne, who is forty-one, was wearing a big gray sweater, with her hair in a ponytail and a pair of sunglasses perched on her head. In movies like “Bridesmaids,” TV shows like “Damages,” and plays like “Medea” (in which she acted opposite Cannavale), she is known for her almost intimidating good looks, but her manner is relatably frazzled, and she prefers to blend in. “Bobby is so striking-looking,” she said. “He can’t escape people’s attention. He’s tall, and he has this voice. I can sort of disappear more easily, but it’s hard to hide Bobby.” She gave a raucous laugh.Published in the print edition of the June 21, 2021, issue, with the headline “Self-Belief.”
Rose Byrne Channels Jane Fonda
Naomi Fry is a staff writer at The New Yorker.