Melanie went back to school and then studied English Literature at The Victoria University in Wellington. Other than a short cameo appearance in Peter Jackson's "The Frighteners" in 1996, she did not work on any movie project until she got an offer from writer/director Mark Tapio Kines (who found her through the internet) to play one of the leads in his feature film debut "Foreign Correspondents".
While shooting "Foreign Correspondents" in the summer of 1997, she got the role of Drew Barrymore's "nice" stepsister in the 1998 movie version of the Cinderella tale, "Ever After", which was shot in France. Next was "The Cherry Orchard", a film version of Anton Chekhov's play by the same name, which was completed in June 1998.
Meanwhile, Ever After was released, did very well, and Hollywood was finally noticing her. So, she soon started to work on the teenage comedy "Detroit Rock City" about four guys trying to get into a Kiss concert. While the film itself wasn't a big hit at the boxoffice, it was a change for Melanie to play the love interest in a Hollywood production, proving ignorant producers wrong who, in the past years, told her she wasn't "cute enough" for a role of this kind.
Her next project was a supporting role in the independent satire "But I'm a Cheerleader", which was very well received at festivals. This was followed by a role in another big Hollywood picture, the Jerry Bruckheimer produced "Coyote Ugly".
More recently, Melanie has completed "Snakeskin", a film shot
in her native New Zealand. The film has not yet been released but she
is very proud of it, calling it the best script she read since Heavenly
Creatures. Also due out in 2001 is "Shooters", a dark british
crime drama shot in London in 1999. Early next year, Melanie can be seen
in ABC's mini series "Rose Red", written by Stephen King. She
is currently working on "Abandon", screenwriter Stephen Gaghan's
("Traffic") directorial debut.
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