Melanie Lynskey: Wikis


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Melanie Lynskey

Lynskey at the TIFF screening of Up in the Air
Born Melanie Jayne Lynskey
16 May 1977 (1977-05-16) (age 32)
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Occupation Actress
Years active 1992–present
Spouse(s) Jimmi Simpson (m.2007-present)

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.


Early life

Lynskey was born in New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, the eldest of five children (three brothers and one sister). She studied at New Plymouth Girls' High School.


Early works, 1992–2002

In 1992, at the age of 15, Melanie 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."[1]

The film was released to critical acclaim in 1994 with Richard Corliss of TIME magazine describing her performance as "perfect, fearless in embodying teenage hysteria".[2] Heavenly Creatures won Jackson and partner Fran Walsh a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay[3] and is now considered a cult film.[4] Lynskey was named Best Actress at the New Zealand Film and TV Awards in 1995 for her performance. However, a shortage of subsequently roles and there being a lack of publicity being organised for her, she was pushed out of the limelight as quickly as she entered it.

After release of the film, Lynskey completed high school and began studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the Victoria University of Wellington, majoring in English Literature. In spite of the critical acclaim levelled in her direction, her career stalled for two and a half years. Within that period of time, she was given work as an non-speaking extra, playing a police deputy in Jackson's next film The Frighteners, b.[5]

Her first appearance in American film was as Jacqueline de Ghent in Ever After opposite Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Huston, which was quickly followed by roles in films such as Detroit Rock City, But I'm a Cheerleader, The Cherry Orchard (an adaptation of the Anton Chekhov play) and the Jerry Bruckheimer produced Coyote Ugly where she took on a New Jersey accent.

In 2002 she played her first television role in the Stephen King mini series Rose Red. She then appeared alongside Katie Holmes in Abandon and Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama, and guest starred twice on The Shield.


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".[6]

Also in 2003, she landed the part of Rose, Charlie Sheen's sweet and zany neighbor on the Emmy Award-winning Two and a Half Men, which frequently appears in the top 10 of the most-watched television shows in America.[7] Although she left her regular slot on the show in 2007, she still makes occasional guest appearances when her schedule allows.

In 2006 she had a small but substantial role in Clint Eastwood's Oscar-nominated World War II drama Flags of Our Fathers[8] and returned to New Zealand in late 2007 to a starring role in Show of Hands, which premiered at the Montreal Film Festival in 2008.

More recently, she earned rave reviews for her performance in the Sam Mendes comedy-drama Away We Go, playing a seemingly happy adoptive parent who hides a secret heartache. Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe wrote "Lynskey dramatizes sadness and dysfunction with quiet, moving physicality.[9]

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".[10] 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".[11]

Lynskey's 2009 films also included Leaves of Grass, in which she co-starred with Edward Norton and Susan Sarandon, as well as the critically acclaimed Jason Reitman film Up in the Air, in which she played Julie Bingham, the younger sister of George Clooney. The National Board of Review has named it best film of 2009[12] and received a Broadcast Film Critics Association[13][14][15][16] cast nomination for Best Acting Ensemble.

Personal life

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, in Queenstown, New Zealand.[17] Also in attendance was her best friend and Rose Red co-star Emily Deschanel,[18] who was one of her bridesmaids. Lynskey currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband.



Year Film Role Notes
1994 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
The Cherry Orchard Dunyasha
But I'm a Cheerleader Hilary
2000 Coyote Ugly Gloria
2001 Snakeskin Alice Nominated — Best Actress New Zealand Film and TV Awards
2002 Shooters Marie
Abandon Julie
Sweet Home Alabama Lurlynn
2003 Shattered Glass Amy Brand
2005 Say Uncle Susan
2006 Park Sheryl
Flags of our Fathers Pauline Harnois
2008 Show of Hands Jess Nominated — Best Leading Actress Qantas Film and Television Awards
A Quiet Little Marriage Monique
2009 Away We Go Munch Garnett
The Informant! Ginger Whitacre
Up in the Air Julie Bingham Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated — Denver Film Critics Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Award for Best Ensemble
Leaves of Grass Colleen
2010 Helena from the Wedding Alice Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Rose Red Rachel Wheaton Television mini series
2003 The Shield Marcy Television series Ep. 2.3 & 2.7
2003-2009 Two and a Half Men Rose 50 episodes
2007 Drive Wendy Patrakas Television series, 7 episodes
2008 The L Word Clea Mason Television series Ep. 5.11 & 5.12
Comanche Moon Pearl Coleman Television mini-series
Psych Emily Bloom Television series Ep. 2.15
2009 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Kate Television series Ep. 5.1


  1. ^ Lippy, Tod (1994). "Heavenly Creatures Interview with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh (1994)". Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  2. ^ Corliss, Richard (1994-11-21). "A Heavenly Trip Toward Hell (1994)". TIME magazine.,9171,981818-2,00.html/. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  3. ^ "Heavenly Creatures (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-06-13. 
  4. ^ AV Club - The New Cult Canon - Heavenly Creatures
  5. ^ Sibley, Brian (2006). Peter Jackson: A Film-maker's Journey. London: HarperCollins. pp. 261, 303 - 322. ISBN 0-00-717558-2. 
  6. ^ Scott, A.O. (October 31, 2003). "A Young Writer's Ambition, With Loyalty and Betrayal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  7. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (2008-12-24). "Two and a Half Men". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  8. ^ Calder, Peter (2006-11-02). "Flags of our Fathers". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  9. ^ Morris, Wesley (2009-06-12). "Away We Go review". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-06-13. 
  10. ^ Macnab, Geoffrey (2009-09-08). "The Informant! Tale of Corporate Crime review". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  11. ^ Olsen, Mark (2009-09-15). "Melanie Lynskey, Toronto's Triple Threat". Los Angeles Times.,0,2092774.story.html. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  12. ^ "2009 National Board of Review Awards". National Board of Review. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  13. ^ "The 15th Critics' Choice Awards Nominees". Broadcast Film Critics Association. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  14. ^ Kilday, Gregg (2009-12-14). "'Basterds,' 'Nine, lead Critics' Choice noms: "Avatar," "Hurt Locker," "Up In The Air" close behind". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  15. ^ King, Susan (2010-01-16). "Broadcast critics name 'Hurt Locker' best picture". Los Angeles Times.,0,1239089.story. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  16. ^ Kilday, Gregg; Kit, Borys (2010-01-15). "'Hurt Locker' tops Critics' Choice Awards: 'Avatar' takes home the most trophies". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2010-01-16. 
  17. ^ "In Style Weddings (2007)". In Style.,,20280136,00.html. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  18. ^ Jacobs, Jay S. (2007-09-26). "Emily Deschanel: The Doctor is In". PopEntertainment. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 

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