By Sam Lansky
May 21, 2015

The action-comedy Spy, in theaters June 5, boasts laugh-out-loud performances from Oscar nominees Melissa McCarthy and Jude Law, a bracingly funny turn from action superstar Jason Statham and an unexpected extended cameo from the rapper 50 Cent, playing himself. But the film’s true star might be Rose Byrne’s hair.

Byrne, 35, plays Raina Boyanov, a ruthless Bulgarian heiress; she’s the primary antagonist to McCarthy’s Susan Cooper, a frumpy CIA desk agent who heads into the field to stop Boyanov from selling a nuclear weapon to a terrorist organization. Clad in tacky-expensive catsuits with layers of spectacularly coiffured extensions, Byrne looks like — as Cooper jokes — “a slutty dolphin trainer.”

“My hair needs its own credit,” Byrne says. “I would be [in hair and makeup] for an hour and a half, but I’d always have to go back in because it would start to melt into different shapes on my head. It’s part Marie Antoinette, part Eastern European, part Kardashian.”

In conversation with TIME, Byrne talks about her rapport with McCarthy, making a very different kind of James Bond movie and why television is no longer “the bastard child of the business.”

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