No to Playboy, yes to romance

Former Harry Potter cast member Scarlett Byrne (below, with Playboy heir Cooper Hefner) plays a half-alien, half-human in science-fiction series Falling Skies.
Former Harry Potter cast member Scarlett Byrne (below, with Playboy heir Cooper Hefner) plays a half-alien, half-human in science-fiction series Falling Skies.PHOTOS: AXN, COOPER HEFNER TWITTER
Former Harry Potter cast member Scarlett Byrne (below, with Playboy heir Cooper Hefner) plays a half-alien, half-human in science-fiction series Falling Skies.
Former Harry Potter cast member Scarlett Byrne (below, with Playboy heir Cooper Hefner) plays a half-alien, half-human in science-fiction series Falling Skies.PHOTOS: AXN, COOPER HEFNER TWITTER

Actress Scarlett Byrne is willing to bare all about her relationship with Playboy's heir

Harry Potter actress Scarlett Byrne may be dating Playboy heir Cooper Hefner, but you will not be seeing her in a bare-it-all spread for the men's magazine Playboy.

"I have no problem with nudity. Personally for me, I think it would just depend on the situation. But I can safely say that you won't be seeing me in the magazine anytime soon," says the unassuming Byrne over the telephone in Los Angeles last Thursday.

This is the first time she has been asked about the relationship in an interview and while the 23-year-old English actress says she has "nothing to hide", she is still surprised.

She has been spotted at glitzy events with 22-year-old Hefner, son of Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner. The young lovebirds are open about their relationship and have posted couple shots on their Twitter accounts.

The media's interest in her personal life is a sign of the rookie actress' growing fame.

Once known for her role as the foul-mouthed wizardry student Pansy Parkinson in the magical movie series Harry Potter, Byrne has gone on to snag a regular role in the hit science-fiction American series Falling Skies. The fourth season premieres here next Thursday on AXN.

The drama, executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, is set in a post- apocalyptic world where alien invaders have wiped out the majority of the human race.

It has become one of the most- watched shows on basic cable TV in the United States and was recently renewed for a fifth and final season.

Byrne loved the role of Lexi, a half- alien, half-human equipped with special powers, so much that she flew from London to Vancouver to film the series.

The bubbly actress says in her crisp English accent: "Lexi isn't like an ordinary teenager. She's extremely complex, there isn't anything one-dimensional about her.

"I knew where she was starting and where she was going to end in the season. But I didn't know what was happening in the middle. Every time we got a new script every other week, I learnt new things about her. Lexi constantly changes, she doesn't stay the same."

It is an understatement to say that Lexi evolved. The character was introduced as an infant in the third season and grew into a six-year-old within the same season.

In the following season, Byrne joined the series as Lexi, who had become a young adult.

One wonders if Byrne, who made her debut in short film CryBaby (2005) at age 14, can identify with her character Lexi's experience of missing out on her growing up years.

Byrne says no in a heartbeat. She explains: "It was totally my decision to act. I begged my parents to send me to a performing arts school. I don't feel like I've missed out on anything."

She was cast in the sixth (2009) and final two-parter instalments (2010, 2011) of the Harry Potter films. She went on to star in the made-for-television film Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2012) and this year's action-thriller Skybound.

In Falling Skies, Lexi was given an ethereal look with "snow white hair", a suggestion by Spielberg that led to an amusing mix-up.

"It was so funny because the hair and make-up team put me in a black bob wig. They assumed that he was referring to Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, not snow white hair," says Byrne.

Having taken on characters with special powers, the very-human Byrne says she would not mind possessing a power or two in real life.

She adds with a hint of glee in her voice: "I know it's funny because I'm scared of heights, but I think being able to fly and go anywhere you want to would be incredible.

"Or I would like to be invisible. It would be cool to play pranks on people, to pop up and surprise people. That would be awesome."

nggwen@sph.com.sg

Falling Skies Season 4 premieres next Thursday at 9.45pm on AXN (StarHub TV Channel 511).

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