Rose Byrne, <I>Damages</i> Rose Byrne, Damages

Its first time around, FX's Damages dangled before viewers the season-long question of who killed aspiring legal eagle Ellen Parson's fiancé. Season 2, premiering Wednesday at 10 pm/ET, opens with a dead-serious Ellen talking to someone off-screen — whom she ultimately shoots. And then we flash back, in dramatic Damages style, to "Six Months Earlier." invited Rose Byrne to shed as much light as she could on Ellen's dark missions of vengeance ahead. Season 2 literally starts with a bang, doesn't it?
Rose Byrne: Yes, literally. It was a lot of fun to film. It's similar to last season, setting up the two different timelines. Are you glad they held onto that framing device? I know there was a bit of pressure to make the show a bit...
Byrne: Clearer, yeah. We still have that catchy thing with the two timelines, to help build the mystery side of it. But I think it is clearer, not as complicated, if you will. It's not a murder, it's more about figuring out who Ellen is talking to [while holding the gun]. Over the course of the season, you can make your mind up. How dark a place is Ellen at these days?
Byrne: Oh she's in the depths of grief and trauma and rage and revenge... . She wants her pound of flesh for the attempt on her life and the murder of her fiancé, David?
Byrne: Yes, it's like Hamlet or something. [Laughs] She becomes kind of a warrior. Is there any reason why Ellen might not follow through with the FBI's sting? Does she have any empathy for Patty?
Byrne: No. The only question is, Who does she trust? I don't even think she trusts the FBI. She just wants to get done what she needs to get done. Some fans have speculated that the FBI agents might not even be legit.
Byrne: That's what I thought, too. But they are. Do you think that when Ellen eventually tracks down and comes face-to-face with Frobisher, she might bail on her revenge plan?
Byrne: It's interesting, I was talking to a trauma counselor about what happens if an avenger does actually meet [his target]. What usually happens is the person has kind of a meltdown, and they don't go through with any of their revenge plans. They see how weak and vulnerable and pathetic these people usually are. It's almost pity when [Ellen] finds this forlorn and hopeless man sitting there. But then she regrets [what she does next]. What sort of story will we be telling with Ellen and Timothy Olyphant's character, Wes? I love how in the first episode she repeatedly accuses him of hitting on her, but he isn't.
Byrne: [Laughs] I know, isn't that great? What an ego! I suppose it speaks to her overall paranoia of people.
Byrne: Absolutely. They become allies [through a grief counseling group]. No one has really been through what she's been through, but he has. She'll become a bit of a confidante — to an extent, since she never is really that vulnerable with anyone. Where it goes, we'll see. He's very different from David, so that's a nice contrast. How is it different working with Glenn Close this season?
Byrne: There's obviously a shorthand and a friendship there that you build over the first season, so you jump right back in. And Patty is a lot softer when we first see her again... She's still rather unsettled by Ray Fiske's suicide in her office.
Byrne: She's really haunted by that, and working with Glenn in that place is really interesting. And because Ellen is not the naïve, very green girl we met in that first season, it was a different dynamic, definitely. I saw an article where Tate Donovan (Tom) raved about how exemplary you are at turning your Australian accent off and on....
Byrne: Really? He's such a sweetheart. He tries to do an Australian accent, and he just sounds like he's on drugs. It's excruciating to listen to! [Laughs] Lastly, I just read the bullet on Knowing, the movie you have out in March with Nicolas Cage, and it sounds pretty cool. [Cage plays a teacher who opens up an elementary-school time capsule containing predictions which have eerily come true.]
Byrne: Yeah, I'm a big fan of Alex Proyas (The Crow), the director, and Nicolas... . I haven't seen it yet, but it's a really cool character. It is very exciting!