Byrne reunites with Rogen, her longtime friend and costar from the Neighbors film series, in the new Apple TV+ comedy
Their real-life dynamic is much less saltier, Byrne tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. “We're far more kind with one another. We're from the Commonwealth! He's Canadian; I'm Australian. We don't have that front-footedness that the characters necessarily have.”
The two first worked together on the raucous 2014 comedy Neighbors and its 2016 sequel Neighbors 2 playing a married suburban couple whose lives are upended when the hard-partying members of a college fraternity move in next door. Through the years, Byrne, 43, and Rogen, 41, have remained good friends and established such an easy rapport that the actress recruited him for Platonic.
The show, says Byrne, “lives and dies on the friendship and the chemistry of the two people. And I knew that it had to be Seth [to play Will]. And it just was a question of whether he would or not, and convince him, but he was immediately on board, so it was wonderful.”
In Platonic, Byrne lawyer–turned–housewife Sylvia is married to dependable attorney Charlie (Luke Macfarlane). When she learns her man-child former best friend Will is getting divorced, she reaches out and they resume their shenanigans (think: snorting drugs in a bathroom stall and dancing in — and on top of — bars). Naturally, their rekindled bond begins to irk Charlie.
The shift from playing spouses in Neighbors to playing friends in Platonic was “different,” acknowledges Byrne. “The dynamic is just intuitive. And we realized that day one, like, ‘Oh, yeah, all right. We can do these things, but we can't do these things.’ It was an opportunity to discover different ways to find the comedy.”
Platonic taped in Los Angeles, and Byrne relocated with her family — longtime partner Bobby Cannavale, 53, and their sons Rocco, 7, and Rafa, 5 — from New York for the shoot. Byrne and Cannavale and Rogen and his wife, Lauren Miller, 41, would double date when they had the time.
“They're such a genuinely happy couple,” gushes Byrne. “Lauren is so lovely, such a sweetheart. And he's just so devoted to her.”
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Though Byrne and Rogen are close, it’s not their friendship that the actress thought of when she first read the script. “I have a dear friend who is a guy, and we've been friends since [we’ve been in] our twenties,” she says. “We were roommates in L.A. as struggling actors. And we are still very close, although he's in Australia and I'm over here [in the U.S.]. But it was extraordinary, because we lived together for many years and people could never believe that we were platonic friends. Particularly on his side. All his friends were like, ‘Yeah, but what do you mean?’ And so when they pitched this idea to me of the show, I did feel I could relate.”
Byrne has been keeping busy aside from Platonic. This summer, she also appears in the supernatural horror sequel Insidious: The Red Door (in theaters July 7), the third and final season of her dark dramedy Physical (premiering on Apple TV+ Aug. 2), and she voices a character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (in theaters Aug. 4) — another project that reunited her with Rogen, who recruited her for the film.
“Seth was like ‘Do this quick,’ and I was like, ‘Yes, of course!’” says Byrne.
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Platonic is streaming now on Apple TV+.
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