Lynskey hits big time with roles opposite Clooney, Damon

Melanie Lynskey may not be someone whose name you instantly recognize,but if you’re planning on tackling the TIFF, you’re going to run into her quite a bit.

Melanie Lynskey may not be someone whose name you instantly recognize, but if you’re planning on tackling The Toronto International Film Festival, you’re going to run into her quite a bit.

The actress is appearing in three films at this year’s fest, including Leaves Of Grass, Up In The Air, and The Informant. The unassuming and charming New Zealand native got her start as a teenager with a difficult lead role in Peter Jackson’s award-winning Heavenly Creatures and has been working steadily ever since.

“I always wanted to be an actor, but I’m from a small town in New Zealand, so I didn’t know anyone who’d ever become one and it didn’t seem possible,” Lynskey told Metro.

“But (Peter Jackson) came around to my high school when I was 15 and was looking for normal girls to play the role. It’s more than I ever hoped for that could actually make it my career, because it was my dream ever since I was a child.”

Last year was a big one for Lynskey as she got to work with some pretty impressive directors including Sam Mendes, Jason Reitman, Steven Soderbergh, and Tim Blake Nelson.

Though Lynskey was pleased with the collaborations with her directors, she did notice the difference in their working styles.

“There was a lot of rehearsal and discussion with Tim on Leaves Of Grass, but then Steven Soderbergh was totally hands off and didn’t give a lot of notes,” Lynskey said. “He’s happy with whatever spontaneous thing that happens on set because he likes the performances to be very natural.”

As for Juno and Up In The Air director Jason Reitman, Lynskey noted that the young filmmaker was just as professional as the veterans.

Lynskey also got to work alongside some megastar actors including George Clooney on Up In The Air and Matt Damon on The Informant.

“I was so terrified,” revealed Lynskey. “I’m not the kind of actress who plays Matt Damon’s wife. I’m normally the best friend. Luckily he’s the nicest person ever to walk the face of the earth and a very generous actor. He made me feel very comfortable right away.”

Lynskey has made over 30 appearances in film and television over the last 15 years, but seems to have found a comfortable home now in comedy and should only continue to gain ground in Hollywood after this string of high profile performances.

Comedy is something the actress says she’s always enjoyed and is grateful to have found a home and recognition in the genre.

“It’s funny because I remember at the wrap party for Heavenly Creatures, someone said to me ‘you should really do comedy.’ At the time I thought ‘Thanks a lot. You’ve just been working on a dramatic movie with me for three months.’”

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