Abbie Cornish had been modelling since the age of 13, but her acting breakthrough came in Aussie TV show Wildside .
She played teen tearaway Simone Summers intermittently throughout the programme's two-year-run. Wildside took a docudrama approach to the cop-show format, which, paired with subtle characterisation, made it a damn sight more compelling than The Bill .
Packing a punch? Well, she won an Australian Film Institute award for her role.
Close Contact (1999)
Cornish's next role came in this feature-length thriller, made for TV. The (more-than-a-little trashy) plot sees a female lawyer taking on a suspicious bodyguard, after her boyfriend is gunned down in mysterious circumstances.
The film benefits from its Sydney locations, but the in terms of star wattage, the biggest boost to its credits is one-time Neighbours pin-up Kimberley Davies.
Packing a punch? She's a bit too far down the cast-list to have much of an impact.
The Monkey's Mask (2000)
This first feature role of Cornish's is indicative of her predilection for edgy, adult material. She stars a Mickey, a dowdy student who goes missing in dodgy circumstances.
A private investigator on her tracks ends up falling into a relationship with Mickey's poetry professor, while trying to uncover the sinister motives behind the disappearance. Sadly, the film takes the premise down tawdry, wholly unconvincing avenues.
Packing a punch? Cornish does at least bring a dark charisma to an otherwise forgettable movie.
Water Rats (2000)
Harbour patrol shows seems so much more glamourous down under. Can you image the policing of Southend pier making compelling viewing?
Cornish only appeared in one episode of Water Rats , though by this point it seems like she was beginning to devote herself to her acting career full time: apparently the animal-lover and vegetarian had previously planned to become a vet.
Packing a punch? She wasn't given much chance to shine here.
This TV show afforded a flourishing Cornish a more substantial role, as she played the lead character across all 26 episodes.
It was a little more innocent in nature than some of her earlier work, as it focused on a bunch of wholesome, horse-riding teens who solve Famous Five -esque mysteries. Her strong-willed Reggie showed more moxie than the characters are often given in this subgenre.
Packing a punch? She got to demonstrate her willingness to get involved in the physical side of things with all the horse-riding that the role entailed.
Life Support (2001)
Spoof TV show Life Support gave Cornish the chance to exercise her underused comedy chops.
The show sought laughs in some pretty dark places: one of Cornish's skits saw her fake a young cousin's cancer (via a shaved head) to get profitable autographs from sports stars, before taking the little lad off to see if they could score some "medicinal marijuana" from the doctors...
Packing a punch? Not all of the gags hit the mark, but Cornish proves herself game for a laugh.
Hugo Weaving lent his distinctive tones to this equine comedy. Sadly the remainder of the cast can't live up to his gravitas: Jason Donovan just doesn't really cut it.
Once again there's a dark streak to the comedy; even when Cornish was finding her feet as an actress she consistently gravitated towards material that at least had some edge to it.
Packing a punch? The disparate elements of this horse-trainer-com never add to anything memorable.
White Collar Blue (2003)
Between movie roles, Cornish notched up another appearance in an Australian cop show (who knew there were so many of them?)
While she was avoiding the beachside soaps that plague so many Aussie stars' early careers, this one-off appearance didn't actually add anything of substance to her CV.
Packing a punch? Nothing remarkable to see here.
Marking Time (2003)
Cornish took a supporting role in this two-part TV drama. The plot concentrated on the relationship between Australian teen Hal (Abe Forsythe) and Afghan refugee Randa (Bojana Novakovic).
With its post-9/11 themes, this was weightier than most teen romances, and Cornish was nominated for another Australian Film Institute award for her measured turn (she lost out to co-star Katie Wall, though).
Packing a punch? Good performances all round add to the dramatic heft.
One Perfect Day (2004)
This bizarre Australian thriller follows oddball musician Tommy (Dan Spielman), who can hear music in the unlikeliest of places.
Despite limited screentime, Cornish gives a magnetic performance as Tommy's wayward sister, whose drug-related death pushes Tommy into taking his talents into the electro-realm.
Packing a punch? The films a bit of a mess, but Cornish is convincingly alluring as the party girl.
It was with this powerful, emotionally-draining drama that Abbie Cornish suddenly grabbed wider attention. It was a small movie in terms of budget and scale, but Cornish's intense performance ensures that it hits hard.
She plays a teen runaway, stuck awkwardly on the cusp of adulthood, who rocks up in a small town and starts a relationship with an equally-confused Sam Worthington. Not always comfortable viewing, but worth enduring.
Packing a punch? Hell yeah. Somersault really showed what she was capable of, and marked her out as one to watch closely.
Everything Goes (2004)
Cornish followed Somersault with a role opposite Hugo Weaving in this short, based on a story from Raymond Carver's collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love .
Carver's stories are known for their concise style and direct emotional impact, so it's unsurprising that Cornish and Weaving were attracted to the tale, which looks at an older man and a younger couple approaching crossroads in their lives.
Packing a punch? Small but weighty.
Despite attracting serious amounts of attention, Cornish was still holding off on Hollywood projects, and opted for this searing Aussie drug drama, based on Luke Davies' novel, as her next feature.
She plays art student Candy, who falls for Heath Ledger's self-destructive poet. Both Ledger and Cornish are superb, making it impossible to turn away despite the increasingly dark tone.
Packing a punch? With Ledger, she conveys the compulsive nature of love and addiction with an utterly believable and absorbing performance.
A Good Year (2006)
Cornish's first foray into Hollywood fare boasted some impressive ingredients - director Ridley Scott, stars Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard, sumptuous locations - but failed to make any real impact.
It was mainly due to the fact that the story, about a London trader rediscovering the finer things in life by returning to his family vineyard, seemed a little slight coming from the Gladiator pair, as opposed to it being inherently awful. Cornish turns up as an intriguing wine expert who could be in line to inherit Crowe's grapes.
Packing a punch? She holds her own amidst an impressive cast, but the film is all too easy to forget.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
Cornish's next major role was in the follow-up to Cate Blanchett's career-making Elizabeth . Here, the monarch has war on her mind, having to defend her country from the Spanish Armada.
It's not exactly plain-sailing within her court either, as she tries to set up her crush Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) with Cornish's lady-in-waiting. For once, Cornish takes on a endearingly innocent character, and she also blends well into the period setting.
Packing a punch? She's very decent here, though it's hard for anyone to get a look in when a stirring Blanchett is firing on all cylinders.
Kimberley Peirce ( Boys Don't Cry ) directed this Iraq drama, favouring the personal fallout of the war, over the political one. Cornish is a rare female presence in a necessarily testosterone heavy line-up.
Ryan Phillipe leads as one of a bunch of disillusioned soldiers. He runs off with his mate's fianceé (Cornish) after the controversial 'stop-loss' policy requires him to return to duty.
Packing a punch? Cornish makes the pain of the absentee-soldier's wife keenly felt, while also acting as an effective come-home lure.
Bright Star (2009)
By this point, it was clear that fluffy, lighthearted roles didn't seem to appeal to Cornish. Jane Campion ( The Piano ) directed this John Keats biopic, which concentrates entirely on his relationship with seamstress Fanny Brawne.
The sombre pacing will doubtless be alienating for some, which is a shame as Bright Star is quite beautiful, bolstered by Campion's eye for period detail, and the performances by Cornish and Ben Whishaw, who capture the exquisite pain of young love.
Packing a punch? If you're not at least a little moved by the pair's tribulations by the end, you may need a Voight-Kampff test.
Robot Chicken (2009)
It's not all doom and gloom for Cornish, who revisited her comedy talents with a guest appearance on Seth Green's ramshackle stop-motion sketch show.
She only appeared on one episode, playing the dual roles of nurse/wife. She blends in pretty unnoticeably in the background, adding her name to the legion of guest stars the show's accrued over the years, including Scarlett Johansson, Joss Whedon and Cornish's Sucker Punch co-star Vanessa Hudgens.
Packing a punch? To the funny bone!
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010)
Before teaming up with Zack Snyder for Sucker Punch , Cornish lent her Aussie tones to this animated owl adventure. There was no denying the CGI movie's visual splendour, with the beaky stars realistically rendered and the soaring action playing to the 3D format, but the story failed to impress.
As well as a needlessly confusing plot, Guardians was surprisingly brutal, given the family market it was targeting.
Packing a punch? Her haughty Otulissa was strikingly designed, but she had to dish out a lot of exposition...
Cornish had a role in last week's Limitless . She played Lindy, the girlfriend who dumped Bradley Cooper's struggling writer, only to end up getting back with him after his life is turned around by a mind-expanding drug.
Unsurprisingly, a superdrug like NZT doesn't come without its Faustian consequences, and before long, he's sucked into murky conspiracies.
Packing a punch? She's wasted here, given little room to breathe or expand while Cooper rushes around on his power-trip.
Sucker Punch (2011)
Cornish is back in cinemas again this week, in Zack Snyder's girl-power epic Sucker Punch . Baby Doll (Emily Browing) is committed to an asylum in 50s Vermont, and regresses into her imagination to escape her circumstances.
As this is Snyder, though, her inner-world isn't pensive and introspective, it's a series of high-octane, ultra-stylised face-offs against endless imaginary foes, with her fellow inmates (including Cornish's Sweet Pea) coming along for the ride. Check it out for yourself from Friday.
Packing a punch? The title says it all...