THR: Rachel McAdams

The Hollywood Reporter
Published: March 17, 2005

If the name Rachel McAdams hasn’t yet become as recognizable as that of Lindsay Lohan, just wait. By the end of the year, McAdams — ShoWest’s 2005 Supporting Actress of the Year — will be all over “it” lists as one of Hollywood’s hottest commodities.

McAdams burst on to the scene in 2002’s “The Hot Chick” as the young woman who switches bodies with Rob Schneider, but it was her two breakout roles in 2004’s “Mean Girls” and “The Notebook” that earned her real notice. Come this summer, the twentysomething Canadian-born McAdams is poised for a second two-pronged breakout.

She plays the female lead in New Line’s planned July comedy “The Wedding Crashers,” and one month later, she stars in Wes Craven’s psychological thriller “Red-Eye” for DreamWorks. The actress will cap the year with the Fox dramedy “The Family Stone,” which has her co-starring opposite Diane Keaton and Sarah Jessica Parker. Earlier this month, McAdams spoke with Ray Richmond for The Hollywood Reporter about the joys and challenges of burgeoning stardom and why she prefers her home base of Toronto to Los Angeles.

The Hollywood Reporter: So, is it flattering to win something that labels you as the year’s finest “supporting actress,” or do you fear it might sound a bit too confining?
Rachel McAdams: Oh, no, any kind of acknowledgment of my work is a blessing. That isn’t to say I don’t aspire to leading roles. But basically, I just want to play roles in any way, shape or form. It’s the material that interests me more than the billing.

THR: What do you look for in a part?
McAdams: Just great writing, basically. One great scene could be a reason for me to want to do a film. Sometimes, that’s all you need to launch yourself into it.

THR: Is that what attracted you to “Mean Girls” and “The Notebook”?
McAdams: Well, I loved the catfight scene in “Mean Girls.” “The Notebook” for me was just overall an amazingly compelling piece that spoke to me on every level from beginning to end.

THR: You’re from a small town in Ontario. How did that kind of modest upbringing prepare you for the fast-track Hollywood life you’re suddenly living?
McAdams: I have a great family that has always kept me very grounded, and the pace growing up was pretty slow. But there is really no preparation for an acting career that reaches the level I’ve already begun to reach. I’d always imagined that once I got to this level, life would somehow become really easy, and any decisions would be simple and straightforward. But it’s actually the opposite.

THR: How so?
McAdams: Just in the way that every move becomes suddenly important and scrutinized, which obviously isn’t the case when you’re just a struggling actress. But I tend to think the complexity is a real blessing in a strange way. Once you start getting roles in major releases, there’s obviously a lot more opportunity. The scripts I get are a lot better than they used to be.

THR: Do you have plans to relocate from Toronto to Los Angeles in the near future?
McAdams: I really can’t see myself living there permanently. Nothing against Los Angeles, but I love being able to come home to a place where no one really cares what you do or who you are and allows me a break from that life. I need the change of seasons; it suits my personality. When the weather is perfect every day, I tend to get depressed.

THR: Four years ago, you were making your onscreen debut in the Disney Channel series “The Famous Jett Jackson.” Now, you’re a rising big-screen star. Does it ever freak you out how quickly this all has happened?
McAdams: All the time. I’m totally overwhelmed by the opportunities I’m getting and the position I find myself in; I pinch myself at least once a day. There’s never a dull moment in my life anymore. I mean, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be where I am already. But I figure I should probably just enjoy the ride while it lasts.

© 2005 The Hollywood Reporter | Written by THR | No copyright infringment intended.

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