Melanie Jayne Lynskey (born 16 May 1977) is a New Zealand actress best known for playing Charlie Harper's neighbor/stalker Rose on Two and a Half Men, and a range of characters in films such as Up in the Air, The Informant!, Away We Go, Flags of Our Fathers, Shattered Glass, Sweet Home Alabama, Ever After and Heavenly Creatures.
Lynskey was born in New Plymouth, New Zealand, on 16 May 1977. She attended New Plymouth Girls' High School.
Early works, 1992–2002
In 1992, at the age of 15, Lynskey won her first professional acting role as Pauline Parker in the Peter Jackson film Heavenly Creatures, based on the 1954 Parker-Hulme murder, opposite Kate Winslet. Over 500 young actors auditioned for the role before Lynskey was cast with Jackson recalling "we knew if we cast an intelligent person, then they were going to hit it. Melanie's also very enigmatic. So what we were looking for was an actress who has that kind of aspect to her...where you can film somebody sitting in a room, doing nothing, and they're still fascinating to watch. We found that in Mel.
In Shattered Glass, a 2003 drama revolving around political journalism, she played a writer for The New Republic. Based on a true story, the film depicted the downfall of fraudulent Washington, D.C. journalist Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) and received extremely positive reviews, with A. O. Scott of the New York Times referring to it as "a serious, well-observed examination of the practice of journalism", and "an astute and surprisingly gripping drama".
She also played the female lead opposite Matt Damon in the Steven Soderbergh black comedy The Informant!, based on the true story of FBI whistleblower Mark Whitacre. The film premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival with The Independent noting "sterling support comes from Melanie Lynskey as Whitacre's ever-loyal wife". Soderbergh told the Los Angeles Times, "She is so watchable, you never quite know what you're going to get, you just know it's going to be good. Her rhythms are really unusual, like her cadence and her reaction times to things, and the way she sort of lays out a sentence. It's just really, really interesting".
Lynskey's 2009 films also include Leaves of Grass, in which she co-starred with Edward Norton and Susan Sarandon, as well as Up in the Air, in which she played Julie Bingham, the younger sister of George Clooney's character.
Lynskey is set to star in the 2011 films Win Win opposite Paul Giamatti, Touchback opposite Kurt Russell, and Eye of the Hurricane opposite Campbell Scott.
In 2001 she met her future husband, American actor Jimmi Simpson, while co-starring in the Stephen King mini series Rose Red, and they became engaged in 2005.
On 14 April 2007 they married in a chapel overlooking a vineyard on Lake Hayes, near Queenstown, New Zealand. Also in attendance was her best friend and Rose Red co-star Emily Deschanel, who was one of her bridesmaids. Lynskey currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband.
Year Film Role Notes1994 Heavenly Creatures Pauline Parker Winner — Best Actress New Zealand Film and TV Awards
1996 The Frighteners Deputy
1998 Ever After Jacqueline De Ghent
1999 Detroit Rock City Beth
1999 The Cherry Orchard Dunyasha
1999 But I'm a Cheerleader Hilary
1999 Foreign Correspondents Melody Nominated — Best Actress, Chicago Alt.Film Fest
2000 Coyote Ugly Gloria
2001 Snakeskin Alice Nominated — Best Actress New Zealand Film and TV Awards
2002 Shooters Marie
2002 Abandon Julie
2002 Sweet Home Alabama Lurlynn
2003 Shattered Glass Amy Brand
2005 Say Uncle Susan
2006 Park Sheryl
2006 Flags of our Fathers Pauline Harnois
2007 Itty Bitty Titty Committee Plastic Surgery Lady Uncredited
2008 Show of Hands Jess Nominated — Best Leading Actress Qantas Television Awards
2008 A Quiet Little Marriage Monique
2009 Away We Go Munch Garnett
2009 The Informant! Ginger Whitacre
2009 Up in the Air Julie Bingham Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated — Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
2009 Leaves of Grass Colleen
2010 Helena from the Wedding Alice
2011 Win Win Cindy
2011 Touchback Macy
2011 Eye of the Hurricane Amelia Kyte
2011 Four Saints Mairi Chrisholm