Echo Point (1995)
Although she made her film debut a year earlier in Dallas Doll , Rose first got noticed in this Aussie soap. She starred as teenager Belinda O’Connor in this Home And Away wannabe.
Echo Point also featured True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten before he landed a bigger part on Home And Away. The show was pretty cheesy, and despite a solid lead character in the shape of Belinda, it only lasted a year.
Always The Bridesmaid? The Aussie-soap-to-Hollywood transition is fraught with casualties, so it’s hard to tell at this stage. For every Russell Crowe there’s a Holly Valance.
Heartbreak High (1999)
After a few fleeting appearances in dodgy-sounding TV shows (G.P., Fallen Angels, Wildside) and short The Date (about a hunt for the perfect condom), Rose got another shot at Australian TV fame with a guest role in this edgy drama (well, it felt edgy when you were 12).
Sporting a blonde bob, she stuck in the mind long after her brief, three-episode-long run.
Always The Bridesmaid? This was something of a background role.
Two Hands (1999)
Rose starred alongside Heath Ledger (fresh from 10 Things I Hate About You ) in this Australian crime drama. Jimmy (Ledger) ends up on the wrong side of a local gangster after fluffing a money drop-off. Unsurprisingly, Alex (Byrne) keeps catching his eye.
This little-seen thriller is worth digging out, as it has Ledger at his most likeably cocky, and Byrne is such an enigmatic presence you understand why Jimmy is drawn back to her despite facing the rather pressing issue of the gangsters on his tail.
Always The Bridesmaid? It may have been a supporting role, but she makes a substantial impact.
My Mother Frank (2000)
Not a drama about coming to terms with a parent’s transvestitism, this was a light comedy about a woman who enrols at university at the same time as her son. If this wasn’t embarassing enough, the mother, Frances (Sinead Cusack), proceeds to get jiggy with a lecturer (Sam Neill).
The son, meanwhile, sets about romancing Rose Byrne’s uninterested Jenny.
Always The Bridesmaid? She didn’t exactly get a chance to shine in this lame romcom.
The Goddess Of 1967 (2000)
Rose won plaudits for this one, which sees a rich Japanese guy travel to Australia to attempt to buy the car of the title. Once he arrives in Oz, things don’t turn out the way he expected, and he ends up on a road trip with D.G. (Byrne), a blind girl.
Stretching her talents was clearly worth it, as Rose took home the Best Actress award from the Venice Film Festival.
Always The Bridesmaid? Her awards cabinet would disagree.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones (2002)
After dipping her toe back into to TV with an episode of Murder Call, and starring in a couple of shorts, The Pitch and Heaven , Rose got her first taste of a bona fide blockbuster in George Lucas’s second Star Wars prequel.
Rose appeared in the space opera as Dorme, a handmaiden of Padme’s, who acts as a decoy while her mistress goes off to frolic Sound of Music -style with Anakin.
Always The Bridesmaid? If you can double for Natalie Portman, that’s no bad thing, but this was still a minor role.
City Of Ghosts (2002)
Matt Dillon directed, and also starred in, City Of Ghosts , which sees a dodgy con man flee the US for Thailand and Cambodia after his iffy insurance dealings come under inspection. Rose joins a meaty cast that also includes James Caan, Stellan Skarsgård and Gerard Depardieu.
Unfortunately, Rose doesn’t get much of a look in, as Dillon is more interested in serving himself in this forgettable thriller.
Always The Bridesmaid? This didn’t offer an opportunity for a breakout as it went practically unseen.
I Capture The Castle (2003)
Despite its period drama trappings, I Capture The Castle is quite a light-hearted affair, and gave Rose the chance to prove she could do ditzy. Set in ’30s England, Rose and older sister Romola Garai, are living in a castle bought by their writer dad, Bill Nighy.
Things start to look interesting for the gals when a couple of dashing gents buy the neighbouring land. Slight, but charmingly so.
Always The Bridesmaid? She shows off a light comic touch, and a spot-on English accent in the ‘supporting sister’ role.
The Night We Called It A Day (2003)
Rose was back on home turf for this comedy-drama, which sees Frank Sinatra land himself in hot water when he badmouths a female reporter.
She has a small supporting role as the romantic interest of Frank’s road manager ( Animal Kingdom ‘s Joel Edgerton), though you’re more likely to remember the film for one of the least convincing screen Sinatras ever in the form of Dennis Hopper.
Always The Bridesmaid? Her ascent was dampened slightly by this so-so effort.
The Rage In Placid Lake (2003)
Not a sequel to the gigantic crocodile horror, this offbeat comedy sees Placid Lake (Ben Lee) trying to get a job and conform to society’s norms, much to the chagrin of his hippie parents.
Less effective than similar quirk-coms of this ilk, but Rose Byrne is on top form as Placid’s best friend.
Always The Bridesmaid? At least she outshone the movie.