Melanie Lynskey was born on May 16, 1977 in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Reportedly a very good student and an avid reader, she discovered her love for acting early on, and took part in various school plays before screenwriter Fran Walsh, partner of director Peter Jackson, discovered her in1993 while desperately looking for the right person to play the role of Pauline Parker in the movie Heavenly Creatures. The two found Melanie to be perfect for the role, and her performance proved them right. Heavenly Creatures opened in New Zealand in October 1994 to fantastic reviews, and shortly after around the world, where the film was just as well received and nominated for an Academy Award for best screenplay.

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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