August 30, 2004 12:00 PM

MIRANDA OTTO She was the warrior princess Eowyn in the Lord of the Rings movies. Now Australian actress Miranda Otto, 36, loses the chain mail to play a meter maid in love in the offbeat comedy Danny Deckchair.

ON LEARNING HOW TO BECOME A TRAFFIC COP I went around for a day with a parking inspector to see what the job was like. Giving people parking tickets is just about one of the worst jobs you could ever do. Nobody is ever happy with you.

NO HER PHYSICAL RECOVERY FROM RINGS It took me a number of trips to the osteopath to click things back into place. I have one of those bodies that when you really punish it, things tend to go in different directions. It was grueling for me because the costume, which was real chain mail, weighed about 20 lbs.

ON LIFE WITH ACTOR HUSBAND PETER O’BRIEN It’s very nomadic. I would love to have cats and dogs, but you just can’t do it to them. If we’re ever in one spot long enough, I would love to take classes in tango.

ON BEING A TOMBOY Growing up, I knew other girls who had that kind of refined, girlish thing. I’ve been waiting for the day when that’s going to happen to me. I quite enjoy getting muddy and dirty and getting thrown in the water.

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