How Rose Byrne Landed Her Small Appearance In Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones

A security detail is one thing, but by the time George Lucas' "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones" released in 2002, Jedi Knights Obi-Wan (Ewan MacGregor) and Anakin (Hayden Christensen) weren't the only ones assigned to protect Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) from the constant threat of violence. 10 years after the events of "The Phantom Menace," the former queen (now senator) faces danger from political separatists under the command of former Jedi Master Count Dooku (Christopher Lee). Among the senators crew are her handmaidens, a royal dividend Padmé retains in her transition to senator, and soon it becomes clear why it's necessary for her to roll deep at all times. And one of the handmaidens is recognizably Rose Byrne of "Insidious," "Bridesmaids," and beyond. In the sprawling 142-minute runtime, Byrne's role as Dormé is filled with concern for Amidala — you wouldn't know that Byrne doesn't even count herself as a Star Wars fan.

In an interview with Uproxx, Byrne pronounces her character's name proper, with an accent on the end — according to E.K. Johnston's canon novel "Queen's Peril," the handmaidens intentionally choose similar-sounding names with "ey" accents to confuse anyone trying to track the queen's people and habits. Byrne also reveals why she thinks she got the "Clones" gig in the first place, which may have been more due to location than anything else.

We better hire that girl!

In "Attack of the Clones," the death of handmaiden Cordé (Veronica Segura) in a targeted vessel explosion revealed that the luminary's aides were more than glorified hairstylists; they would perform espionage on her behalf, listen in on strategic plotting, and lay down their lives for their queen as decoys and guards as necessary. Trained in combat fighting and marksmanship by Captain Panaka (Hugh Quarshie) of the Royal Naboo Security Forces, aides such as Dormé were chosen both to support the queen/senator in day-to-day tasks as well as navigating threats. 

So how did Byrne get the part? She told Uproxx:

"I think they just had to, it was shot in Sydney, so they had to get a bunch of Australians in the cast. I think that's why I got the part. 'We better hire that girl!' I'm like one of the point zero one percent who is not a 'Star Wars' fan... Everybody else was over the moon!"

Byrne goes on to laugh over that strange feeling that comes with spotting a known actor in a bit part onscreen — these days, many use the meme of Leonardo DiCaprio pointing at his TV in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" to convey the same feeling. Asked if "Attack of the Clones" was a "welcome-to-Hollywood" moment for her, the "Seriously Red" star had nothing but kind words and fond memories of her time on the space opera, a franchise entry that still divides fans and critics today. 

Citing their expanded structure, rich history, and Naboo's fascinating government in general, /Film's Donna Dickens has long been calling for a TV series based upon the right-hand-women of the queen. Indeed, "The Royal Handmaidens of Naboo" does have a nice ring to it.