x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Damon film 'a highlight'

The actress Melanie Lunskey talks about her role as the wife of an FBI informant at the UAE premiere of her latest film.

The actress Melanie Lynskey is on her first trip to the Middle East.
The actress Melanie Lynskey is on her first trip to the Middle East.

ABU DHABI // Having already worked with some of Hollywood's leading men, the actress Melanie Lynskey paid tribute to two more at the UAE premiere of her latest film last night. Lynskey, who plays the devoted wife of Mark Whitacre, a corporate executive-turned FBI source in The Informant!, said acting with Matt Damon, who plays the lead character, was one of her career highlights. "I loved working with Matt," she said. "He is the sweetest man and a great actor."

She was just as impressed by Steven Soderbergh, the film's director, who has referred to Lynskey as "the new Carole Lombard", comparing her with the much-acclaimed 1930s screen actress. "If I could work with him for the rest of my life, I would," said Lynskey, 32. "He's so spontaneous and smart." Lynskey arrived in Abu Dhabi only hours before the packed gala screening at the Emirates Palace hotel, part of the Middle East International Film Festival.

The New Zealander, on her first trip to the Middle East, spent her first three days touring Dubai. Her cousin, an expatriate resident, acted as a tour guide on outings that included a boat ride and visit to a spice souk. Wearing a floor length, canary yellow gown, Lynskey said she had not yet had a chance to explore the capital. "It seems wonderful so far," she said. Lynskey has also completed filming on Leaves Of Grass with Edward Norton. Later this year will see the release of a starring role in Up In the Air, alongside George Clooney.

She is also recognisable for playing Rose, the sweet neighbour who stalks Charlie Sheen's bachelor character on the Emmy Award-winning television series Two and a Half Men. Lynskey made her name at 16, when she played a teenage murderess in Peter Jackson's 1994 feature Heavenly Creatures, opposite Kate Winslet. She has appeared in supporting roles in several other high-profile films, including Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers.

The Informant! is Soderbergh's adaptation of Kurt Eichenwald's book, which depicts the true story of former Archer Daniels Midland employee Whitacre. Whitacre, a compulsive liar, was the first person involved in a price-fixing cartel to voluntarily give information to the FBI, believing that he would get a promotion for blowing the lead on the corruption. Soderbergh, who directed Clooney's Ocean's series, adds comedy to the story.

Whitacre's wife, Ginger, stands by her husband and never questions his increasingly erratic behaviour. Lynskey, who has met the woman, said: "Ginger is just a very supportive woman, even until this day." mswan@thenational.ae