Mary Rose Byrne(born 24 July 1979) is an Australian actress. Her films include 28 Weeks Later, Sunshine, Troy, Knowing, Marie Antoinette, Insidious, Get Him to the Greek, Bridesmaids, and X-Men: First Class. She plays one of the two main protagonists in the U.S. television series Damages as Ellen Parsons, which has earned her two Golden Globe nominations and two Emmy nominations.Byrne was born in Balmain, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, of Irish and Scottish descent (her grandfather was an Irish immigrant to Australia).She is the daughter of Jane, a primary school administrator, and Robin Byrne, a semi-retired statistician and market researcher. She is the youngest of their four children; she has an older brother, George, and two older sisters, Alice and Lucy. Both of her parents are atheists, and she describes herself as agnostic. Byrne attended Balmain Public School and Hunters Hill High School before attending Bradfield Senior College in Crows Nest. She began taking acting classes at age eight, joining the Australian Theatre for Young People and later attended the University of Sydney. In 1999, Byrne studied acting at the Atlantic Theatre Company developed by David Mamet and William H. Macy.Byrne was cast in her first film role, Dallas Doll, when she was 13 years old. She has appeared in several Australian television shows including Heartbreak High and Echo Point, and the film Two Hands with Heath Ledger. She appeared in The Date, My Mother Frank, and Clara Law's The Goddess of 1967 for which she was award the Volpi Cup for "Best Actress" at the 2000 Venice Film Festival. She appeared as a guest in an episode of the police drama series Murder Call. On stage, she played a lead role in La Dispute and in a production of Anton Chekhov's classic Three Sisters at the Sydney Theatre Company.
In 2002, Byrne made her first appearance in a Hollywood film with a small role as Dormé, the handmaiden to Natalie Portman's Senator Padmé Amidala, in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. She appeared the same year in City of Ghosts with Matt Dillon.The year previously she had flown to the UK to shoot I Capture the Castle, Tim Fywell's adaptation of the 1948 novel of the same title by Dodie Smith. In the 2003 release, she portrayed Rose Mortmain, the elder sister of Romola Garai's Cassandra. In 2003, she starred in three Australian films: The Night We Called It a Day with Melanie Griffith and Dennis Hopper; The Rage in Placid Lake for which she was named Best Actress at the Australian Film Institute with singer Ben Lee; and Take Away, another comedy.In 2004, Byrne starred as Briseis, the Trojan priestess who is abducted during the Trojan War by Achilles, played by Brad Pitt, in Wolfgang Petersen's epic Troy, also starring Eric Bana, Peter O’Toole, Sean Bean, and Orlando Bloom. She then reunited with Peter O'Toole in the BBC TV drama Casanova. Byrne appeared with Snoop Dogg in Danny Green's film The Tenants, based on Bernard Malamud's novel, and starred with Josh Hartnett and Diane Kruger in the romantic psychological thriller Wicker Park where she played Alex, the woman who manipulated Josh Hartnett's character to keep him apart from the woman he falls in love with.In 2006, Byrne portrayed Gabrielle de Polastron, duchesse de Polignac, a French aristocrat and friend of Marie Antoinette, in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, with Kirsten Dunst, and appeared in The Dead Girl, directed by Karen Moncrieff.In 2007, she played Cassie, the pilot in Danny Boyle's science fiction suspense film Sunshine, Scarlett Ross, an army medical officer in Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's science fiction horror 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to Boyle's 28 Days Later, and appeared in the independent film Just Buried, a Canadian dark comedy written and directed by Chaz Thorne.