Rose Byrne and Glenn Close Continue Damages
by Mickey Rapkin
photographs by Robert Ascroft
Byrne, an Australian with a pitch-perfect American accent, came to Manhattan at age 19, enrolling in the Atlantic Theater Company’s threemonth course. She fell in love with David Mamet’s acting technique that summer, but perhaps more importantly, with the island. “My dream was to live and work in New York,” she says. “There’s something very romantic about this city of Woody Allen movies and Martin Scorsese.”
ON ROSE: One-shoulder dress, J. Mendel ($2,995). Hirshleifer’s, Americana Manhasset, 2060 Northern Blvd., Manhasset. Tudor bracelet, H.Stern ($19,000). 645 Fifth Ave. Cap drop earrings, Tiffany & Co. ($16,000). 727 Fifth Ave. Platform pumps, Brian Atwood ($850). Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Ave. ON GLENN: Jacket (price on request) and satin wide-leg tab-front pants, Stella McCartney ($695). Edit New York, 1368 Lexington Ave. Sheer blouse, Ralph Lauren ($898). Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Ave. Cushion-cut diamond and onyx tablet ring, Fred Leighton ($27,500). 773 Madison Ave. Tennis bracelet, Harry Winston (price on request). 718 Fifth Ave. Chain Me classic pumps, Chanel ($875). Hirshleifer’s, Americana Manhasset, 2060 Northern Blvd., Manhasset
It was the same feeling Glenn Close had in 1974 when she moved to New York from college in Virginia to make her Broadway debut in Love for Love. Unlike Byrne, though, it took Close a minute to settle in. Among the first things she noticed about 1974 Manhattan was “that kind of blank New York face that people have when they are on the sidewalk.” And so one day she smiled at someone she passed on the street—and he came back at her, getting right up in Close’s face. What happened then? “I stopped smiling at people!” she says. And a New Yorker was born.
|Satin gown ($5,300) and white beaded poncho ($11,100), Chado Ralph Rucci. Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Ave. Double-clip brooch, Fred Leighton ($85,000). 773 Madison Ave. Earrings, Glenn’s own|
In quick succession, the actress—nominated for five Oscars—moved from Hell’s Kitchen to the Upper West Side to Chelsea and then down to the West Village. While she raised her daughter in Westchester, Close never gave up her place in Manhattan. “New York is like getting plugged into one of the greatest energizing batteries in the world,” she says. “You can walk around and nobody cares. You still can. This morning, I ran to the corner and was sitting at this little café. I put my two dogs outside, and they were barking at every single dog that walked by. I came out. Nobody said, ‘You’re Glenn Close!’ They said, ‘Why are your dogs barking?’”
And so, Damages, a twisty show told in flashbacks and flash-forwards and flash-sideways, which shoots on New York locations from Battery Park to Williamsburg bars—was something of a dream job for these two actresses, who know the value of a steady gig close to home. Especially when that home is fairly close to your costar’s.
If anything, the transition to DirecTV has been a creative boon. The network is in 19.6 million homes, and each episode of Damages now airs at a commercial-free 56 minutes. It’s as if the show’s been given space to breathe. In case you need a catch-up, we’re now three years in the future, a nifty time shift that allows Byrne’s Ellen Parsons to take the lead for the first time, in a wrongful-death suit against a private military contractor working in Afghanistan, a ripped-from-the-headlines story inspired by Blackwater. Close’s Patty Hewes, meanwhile, is raising her granddaughter, sipping brandy by the snifter-full and attending courtordered therapy sessions, with guest star Fisher Stevens as her doctor. Not that Close’s character is at all neutered. In this season’s first episode, she somehow manages to dismiss a rival lawyer by pointedly offering him a croissant.
If Close has one complaint about this season, it’s not the long hours, the where-on-the-dial-are-we network, or that she doesn’t have enough screen time with new series regular John Goodman. It’s that she doesn’t get a chance to shout. “I don’t have a big meltdown this season,” Close says. “I was looking forward to that meltdown!” Thankfully, there’s always season five.
Styling by Julie Matos, Ford Artists NYC
Glenn’s makeup by Sheri Kornhaber
Glenn’s hair by Diana Sikes
Rose’s makeup by Hung Vanngo at The Wall Group
Rose’s hair by Ted Gibson at Jed Root, Inc.
Manicure by Julie Kandalec at artistsbytimothypriano.com
Shot on location at Neue Galerie New York Museum for German and Austrian Art