National Post: Getting ‘centred’ in T.O.

National Post
Published: June 25, 2005

The more famous Rachel McAdams gets, the more precious her anonymity becomes. That’s why she’s pleased that she’s usually left alone in Toronto, the city she’s called home since 1997. “It suits who I am,” she says.”

Rachel who? Last year she played the meanest of Mean Girls in Lindsay Lohan’s teen hit. She was also the torn-between-two-lovers young woman in the romantic tear-jerker The Notebook.

Now McAdams is back with another double bill. She co-stars in Wedding Crashers, set to open July 15, and is featured in the thriller Red Eye, which is scheduled for a mid-August release.

Both movies should serve to increase her recognition factor even among the laid-back fans in Toronto. For now, though, McAdams can enjoy “stepping away from the business” and hunkering down in her Southern Ontario enclave.

Being in Toronto keeps me centred, because I can live a life and take the TTC and ride my bike and garden,” she says.

It wasn’t that long ago that the 28-year-old McAdams needed work more than she needed to be centred. A graduate of York University’s theatre program, she struggled to get noticed, or hired, or both. A co-starring role in 2002’s The Hot Chick did the trick. It got her an audition for Mean Girls, which led to her scene-stealing role as the Queen Bee high school “beyatch.”

It’s so much about timing,” maintains the actress. “And Mean Girls coming out right before The Notebook really helped to show my range.”
It certainly convinced director Wes Craven to take a chance on her for his hostage drama Red Eye.

We were on a plane for a month,” says McAdams, who stars with up- and-comer Cillian Murphy. “It was very physical and very intense, buckling up and being terrorized every day.”

In Wedding Crashers, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, the challenges were different but similarly demanding.

McAdams plays the daughter of a prominent Kennedy-like politician (Christopher Walken), who becomes the object of affection for a former cad (played by Wilson).

It was such a different set of skills on each,” says McAdams. “Red Eye was a two-hander and very confined.”

Wedding Crashers is all about testosterone and ad-libbing. “A lot of testosterone,” she says. “So you enjoy the company and marvel at how fast Vince and Owen are, because it keeps you genuine, fresh and on your toes.”

Next up is a film that’s more mainstream than either the adult comedy or thriller. It’s an ensemble piece starring Diane Keaton titled The Family Stone, slated for a Christmas opening.

I play the youngest of five children and Dermot Mulroney, who’s my older brother, has brought home Sarah Jessica Parker and wants to marry her,” says McAdams. “But we hate her because we’re crunchy, progressive New Englanders and she’s a New York upper-class professional with diamond earrings, slippers and a house coat.”

Sounds like the project will serve McAdams well professionally. Meanwhile, there is her personal life, which she continues to keep to herself.

I’m M.I.A. in L. A. most of the time, and sort of working on my personal life in Toronto,” she says coyly. “It depends on what you want,” says McAdams, who witnessed first hand how Lohan went from under-the-radar to over-the-top press coverage after Mean Girls. “For some people, that’s what they want. They want the whole thing, and that’s fine, too.”

What does McAdams want?
To make movies,” she says. “And if it’s not too much to ask, I want to keep my personal life out of it, without becoming disconnected.

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