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'Hello I Must Be Going' Star Melanie Lynskey On Her Bout With Depression After 'Heavenly Creatures' and Proving Naysayers Wrong

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire September 5, 2012 at 11:47AM

If you don't know Kiwi actress Melanie Lynskey by name, chances are you likely do by face. Since breaking out at 16 opposite Kate Winslet in Peter Jackson's brutal and sad "Heavenly Creatures," Lynskey has worked with some of the best directors in the business (including Steven Soderbergh, Jason Reitman, Sam Mendes, Clint Eastwood and Thomas McCarthy) and acted alongside stars like Matt Damon, George Clooney and Keira Knightley. Yet despite her obvious talent and impressive CV, Lynskey has yet to make a dent as a leading lady. That's all about to change with this Friday's release of her Sundance opener, "Hello I Must Be Going."
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"Heavenly Creatures"
"Heavenly Creatures"

What gave you the impetus to make the move to the states and go for it?

I was at university and I was studying modern drama and studying English, and I just was like, “I don’t wanna be in this place. I wanna be acting.” And I had an agent in America and she started to say to me, “Now, put yourself on tape if you want to send tapes into these movies.” And so I sent a tape in for “The Crucible,” and I ended up flying over to screen test with Daniel Day Lewis. I didn’t get it, but it was kind of enough of a, “OK, if somebody’s considering me for this kind of thing, and if I’m allowed to like go into a room and read with Daniel Day Lewis, then I feel like I can take it seriously. Like I feel like I’m allowed to sort of say, ‘Oh, well I might have something to offer.’” And then I decided to come over and audition and stuff.      

Since then, you’ve built up this remarkable roster of fantastic roles with these amazing directors -- albeit supporting ones for the most part. A role like Amy in "Hello" is long overdue. Why has it taken this long?

I think that for me as a person, it’s very easy for me to hear, “It’s too difficult.” Or, “You’re not easy to cast.” And “You’re not beautiful,” and this and that. So, I kind of went along with that first.

For many years I had people who were representing me who were just like, “It’s very difficult to cast you.” And I was like, “Oh, God. Sorry. Good luck.” I got to a point where I was doing a lot of television, which was fine, and I bought a house, and I’m grateful. But I was going to see movies and I was like, “Wow, I wish I could have, like, auditioned for that, at least. I wish I was able to…” And then I heard that my friend’s agent was maybe interested in representing me. I met with this agency and I just was brave. I left my old agent and I was like, “You know what, I’m just gonna see if there’s like, a better life. I’m just gonna see if this person seems to believe in me.”

"Hello I Must Be Going"
Oscilloscope Laboratories "Hello I Must Be Going"

So that was about five years ago, and she really changed everything. She started to look for movies for me to do. Little parts in really great movies just to build up a good resume. She just had a plan and she made it happen, and that’s really changed my life.

"Hello" has yet to come out theatrically, but it and you made a big impression at Sundance. How was your career changed since wrapping the film?

I just finished a movie with David Wain, which was very exciting for me, because I love “Wet Hot American Summer,” and I always have wanted to work with him. So I did a big funny comedy movie, and I did this little indie with a bunch of good actors. I’m trying to just sort of be careful and do stuff that I love, you know. It doesn’t feel like anything has changed, and I’m very cautious of thinking that anything’s gonna change. You know, I feel lucky to be where I’m at. So, if nothing changes, I’m still feeling very lucky.           
 
 

This article is related to: Interviews, Melanie Lynskey, Hello I Must Be Going, Sundance Film Festival







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