Chapter 5

Jump to: The Future

The Spotlight

The Spotlight (2014-present). In recent years Rachel has earned acclaim with her performances including in HBO’s “True Detective”, “Southpaw” and “Spotlight”. For the latter Rachel received her first Oscar nomination and the movie won Best Picture during the Academy Awards.

  • I want to do things I have to stretch for; roles that seem a little out of reach where I’m not quite sure I can pull it off. Then I’m in the right zone.– Rachel McAdams, 24 Hours Toronto (2016)
  • Early August 2014 it was reported Rachel joined the ensemble cast of “Spotlight“, alongside Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber and Stanley Tucci with director Tom McCarthy and the screenplay written by Josh Singer and McCarthy. Principal photography began on September 24, 2014 in Boston and wrapped up on November 21, 2014. The movie also filmed on-location in Toronto. Director McCarthy and Rachel met the first time via Skype and recalls, “There’s a directness to both Sacha and Rachel, They’re smart but never pushy, and Sacha has this ease in communicating, which Rachel has in her own right. This plays out beautifully when you see that Rachel, as Sacha, is relentless without ever being a nuisance. Rachel has a wonderful way of connecting with people (x).” To prepare for the role, Rachel talked extensively with Sacha Pfeiffer, who she portrays in the movie. Rachel described, “I asked Sacha every question I could think of. Even the tiniest things: ‘Would you wear a watch?’ Whatever it was, she’d tell me anything I wanted to know (x).” Pfeiffer was impressed by Rachel’s attention to detail and in-depth preparation. She recalled: “Rachel wanted to be as authentic and historically accurate as possible because she and the rest of the cast were trying to create the inner lives of the people they’re playing. And when I saw Rachel being filmed as she walked down the steps of the Boston Public Library, I thought ‘That’s me’ (x).”

    Rachel on-set of “Spotlight” with Boston Globe reporter Sacha Pfeiffer. Rachel attending the “Every Thing Will Be Fine” TIFF premiere in 2015. Rachel on-set of “Aloha” with co-stars Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone. Rachel and co-star Jake Gyllenhaal in “Southpaw”.

    Early September 2014 the first rumors appeared of Rachel was in the running for one of the leading roles in the anticipated second season of “True Detective“. A few weeks later it was reported Rachel was the frontrunner and HBO officially confirmed her casting late November 2014 with principal photography also underway in Los Angeles. Rachel stars in the series alongside, Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, and Taylor Kitsch with Kelly Reilly co-starring. This would mark a reunion for Rachel and Reilly, who previously worked together on the “Sherlock Holmes”. After the Christmas break in December, filming continued on January 5, 2015 and officially wrapped up early May 2015.

    Every Thing Will Be Fine” had it’s worldwide premiere during the Berlin International Film Festival on January 10, 2015. After the Berlinale premiere, the movie receive mix reviews. Critic Tim Mead praised Rachel’s performance, “Strong supporting performances from Charlotte Gainsbourg and Rachel McAdams ensure subtleties in the script are heard and the greater themes in the film are seen with genuine realism (x).” The movie was selected for multiple film festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Rachel attended the premiere at TIFF alongside director Wim Wenders on September 11, 2015. The movie had a limited release on December 4, 2015 in the USA and was simultaneously on video on demand.

    Early May 2016, Rachel attended the New York premiere of the documentary “Sonic Sea”, which she narrated. The documentary made by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) a non-profit international environmental advocacy organization. It screened at various festival and premiered in the USA on Discovery. This is not the first time Rachel teamed-up with filmmakers in support of the environment. In 2013 she appeared in a short film by Food And Water First aimed to change land-use policies so prime farmland & water resources are protected for future generations. Additionally, she filmed a short film for Earth Day in 2007. The short was directed by Alma Harel and produced by Justin Benoliel for Partizan Entertainment. Furthermore, Mid-June 2015 Rachel attended a rally hosted by Greenpeace alongside actress Jane Fonda in support of the Save The Artic campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the environmental issues surrounding oil drilling and pipelines. Rachel collaborated with Greenpeace and narrated two TV spots in support of the campaign. She said: “I do what I can to look after the environment by riding my bike, having renawble energy in my house and supporting clean-drinking-water initiatives in developing countries – I believe that it’s all extremely important for our future (x).”

    Mid-May 2016 Rachel collaborated with Canadian artist Daniel Romano on one of his songs titled “Toulouse”. Romano revealed the song called for a collaboration: “The song basically called for it [a collaboration]. Once it was written it was a two-character type song and it felt like a character that could go beyond a vocal performance. Something that needed more feeling than just signing. I have known Rachel for a little while, almost 3 years now, and it just seemed like the right fit. She’s an incredible actor. She’s the best […] and she was totally game right off the bat and just killed it and destroyed it. It virtually took 10 minutes, the whole thing (x).” The song was featured on Roman’s album “Mosey”, which was released on May 27, 2016.

    The Little Prince” was the opening film of the Cannes Film Festival on May 22, 2015. The movie received critical acclaim. The theatrical release of the movie got delayed. The movie also opened the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 3, 2016. The movie was picked up by Netflix and was released on August 5, 2016. The movie also got released in selected theaters, which made it eligible for the 2017 Oscars. The movie was one of 27 animated features submitted for the Oscars with Netflix pushing it for award season by starting a For Your Consideration campaign. The movie won the César Awards (French equivalent to the Oscars) for Best Animated Film in 2016 and received multiple awards, including a Saturn Award nomination for Best Animated Series or Film on Television.

    Aloha” was released on May 29, 2015 in the USA. The movie was originally set to be released on December 25, 2014 but got pushed back. The movie was unable to impress the box office and critics. Rachel responded: “It’s disappointing when your work isn’t received as you’d hope it would be (x).” However, Rachel’s performance received general praise. Los Angeles critic Mark Olsen wrote: “McAdams, meanwhile, plays likely the strongest, most rounded female character Crowe has ever written, a woman suddenly face to face with the life she has and the one she might have had, and the actress brings a grounded, unforced earthiness to the role that is a joy to watch (x).” Michael Phillips from Chicago Tribute echoed: “There are some moments, most of them thanks to McAdams. She can make truth out of contrivance, often nonverbally, dramatizing contradictory impulses within a single moment. I found myself leaning into a kitchen scene between McAdams and Cooper; in the space of a few seconds, the actress activates her character’s full array of concerns and regrets and conflicted feelings (x).”

    Early July 2015 it was reported Rachel was offered the lead opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange“. Principal photography began mid-November 2015 in the UK at Longcross Film Studios. Prior before heading to the Longcross studios, the movie filmed briefly on-location in Nepal. The film was also filmed in London, New York, and Hong Kong. The movie wrapped up filming early April 2016. Rachel filmed most of her scenes before 2016, in order to be able to promote “Spotlight“. Director Scott Derickson revealed Rachel was the only actress she wanted for the role, commending: “She’s fantastic in the film. I don’t think anyone could have played the role better. She was the only person I wanted for the role and feel grateful to have gotten her. And she’s personally every bit the smart, kind-hearted person you hope she’d be (x).” Co-star Benedict Cumberbatch echoed the praise, he said: “She’s really hard working and it looks effortless the way she does it. But she just interrogates the reasoning behind what she’s doing. She’s just flawless in her style and etiquette and her choices are sublime. She does that fine thing of creating someone you haven’t met but feel like you’ve known all your life. And everyone loves her wether it’s on the set or the audience. She’s just adorable and so, so good. I learned a lot from her and Tilda (x).” Rachel revealed she wanted to be part of the Marvel Universe. She said: “I love the way they do films, You get to work with the best of the best in the world. There are no corners cut. Everything’s done really high end and you get a lot of time to make everything look so fantastic and believable. It’s just a really high level of filmmaking and it’s exciting to be a part of that (x).” To prepare for the movie Rachel spent time with neurosurgeons in Toronto and London, including Dr. William Harkness, who was the medical advisor for the film. She learned how to stitch up wounds. Furthermore, she also read comics in order to prepare. She said: “I read a few of the comics. Scott Derrickson pointed me towards ‘The Oath’ in particular. He thought that would be the most helpful for my character. She’s not really in the Super Hero world yet in this one. She’s very much in the real world, in the hospital and in doctor land. For me it was interesting to get to know Strange in terms of the comics and see where my character might potentially be headed (x).” It was long unclear which character Rachel would play. Mid-June 2016 it was confirmed during Marvel’s big Comic Con panel that Rachel would play Dr. Christine Palmer. While Dr. Palmer is part of the Marvel Universe, Rachel revealed she is an amalgamation of a few characters. She said: “This character is a bit of an invention, but that took some of the pressure off of having to step into this idea that people would have of her (x).”

    “I think I’ve always had a tough side, but I want to play both sides of the spectrum. It’s not that I’ve suddenly gone for a particular kind of tough role instead of something romantic.”
    – Rachel McAdams, Hello! UK (2016)

    The season two premiere of “True Detective” aired on June 21, 2015. After the critical success and acclaim the previous season the second season was anticipated. While the season season was unable to live up to the acclaim of the first season, it generally received positive reviews. Especially Rachel’s performance was highlighted as the wowed the critics and audience with her performance as detective Ani Bezzerides. Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield praised: “Rachel McAdams shines. She’s easily the best thing about the second season of True Detective. Her transition from mean girl to bad cop is amazing: She’s a tightly wound, sarcastic loner with a thing for knives and no particular desire to hide her rage.It’s one thing for the doe-eyed starlet from The Notebook to cut it as a hard-boiled Southern California cop. It’s quite another for her to be the most credible and convincing thing about the show — but here we are (x).” Esquire critic Stephen Marche agreed: “But the revelation is Rachel McAdams, as Ani Bezzerides […] Her voice quakes with rage and anguish and fear and disgust and despair (x).” Rachel earned a Critics Choice Television Awards nomination for Best Actress in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series.

    Southpaw” was released on July 24, 2015 in the USA with a solid box office debut with close to $17 million. The movie grossed over $91 million worldwide. The movie also earned mostly positive reviews. While most reviews focuses on co-star Jake Gyllenhaal’s physical transformation, many critics highlighted Rachel’s performance as well. Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers called her performance “strong and smoldering, [She] is explosively good (x)” while Esquire’s Matt Patches called her performance “electric […] without missing a beat (x).” With a summer release, the movie seems an unlikely award season candidate but distributor The Weinstein Company was hopefully and tried to push it as a contender. Rachel and her co-stars attended various for your consideration screenings, including one hosted by the Academy in New York and the SAG-AFTRA Foundation in Los Angeles. The movie was unable to become a real contender in the end. However, the movie seems on it’s way to becoming a fan-favorite. Rachel recently revealed “Southpaw”, “Mean Girls and “The Notebook” are the movies fans want to talk about when they are meeting her. She said: “It’s amazing to be part of something that still reaches people. I had no idea it would be so lasting when we were making it; I was too busy thinking I was going to be fired. I’m glad it worked out (x).”

    “Those reporters were the unsung heroes. It’s easy to forget these crimes but they’re still being committed and people have not received their justice yet.”
    – Rachel McAdams, News AU (2015)

    Spotlight” was part of the fall festival season. The movie had it’s world premiere during the Venice Film Festival on September 3, 2015. The movie was also selected by many film festivals in the fall, including Telluride, Toronto, and New York film festival. After the screenings at Venice, Telluride and TIFF it became clear that the movie was a serious contender for award season. From the very first screening, the movie received nothing but praise. After the first screenings, it also became clear that there was a possibility of Rachel being a serious contender for Best Supporting Actress nominations as her performance received acclaim. Variety’s critic Justin Chang wrote: “McAdams imbues Pfeiffer with sensitivity and grit (x)” while Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers wrote “McAdams, sharp and sympathetic, shows us how Pfeiffer draws out details from victims whose childhoods meant sucking the dick of a priest who says he’s had a bad day. This landmark film takes a clear-eyed look at the digital future and honors the one constant that journalism needs to stay alive and relevant: a fighting spirit (x).” The movie had a limited theatrical release on November 6, 2015 in the USA and was released nationwide on November 20, 2015. The movie took film and award season by storm, supported by the cast, filmmakers and the journalist of the Boston Globe. Rachel brought Boston Globe reporter Sacha Pfeiffer as her red carpet date to many of the important award season ceremonies, including the Golden Globes. Rachel earned many accolades with her performance as Pfeiffer, with the highlight her first Academy Award nomination (Best Supporting Actress). On the day that the nominations were announced, Rachel revealed she slept trough the announcement because she thought they would get announced the next day. She revealed: “I had the day wrong. I was in a deep, deep sleep, I was half-asleep wondering why my publicist was calling me at 5:45. Then I saw every person who I had ever loved or knew had texted me. I thought there had been some catastrophic event in the world (x).” She added: “This is such an incredible honour. I am shocked and delighted, Thank you to Tom, the cast, the entire Spotlight team, especially Sacha Pfeiffer and the Academy. What a tremendous recognition, not just for me but for this important film. Never been so happy to get a call at 6 a.m.! (x)” Pfeiffer praised Rachel for her hard work after the nominations were announced, she commended: “Most people only see the red carpet side of big-name actors, but I got to witness up-close how hard Rachel worked to get ready for this role, and how much effort she put into studying me and replicating my mannerisms and even trying to understand the way I think. And I consider that a testament to how talented she is (x).” Other individual nominations for Rachel included Satellite Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Critics’ Choice. For the latter Rachel was on double nominee duty, also receiving a nomination for her work in “True Detective”. Rachel and her co-stars also won the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, most important award of the evening, during the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Other ensemble accolades included the Robert Altman Award during the Film Independent Spirit Awards. The movie earned 133 nominations in total, including Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards nomination for Best Picture. The movie earned a total of six Oscars nominations and eventually won two Oscars. Writers Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy won Best Writing, Original Screenplay and the movie won Best Motion Picture of the Year, the biggest award of the season. Rachel, her co-stars, filmmakers and producers took the stage.

    Rachel as Detective Ani Bezzerides in “True Detective”. Rachel poses alongside “Spotlight” co-stars, filmmakers and Boston Globe reporters during TIFF 2015. Rachel as Sacha Pfeiffer in “Spotlight”. Rachel and her mother Sandra McAdams attending the Academy Awards in 2016.

    Rachel joined Rachel Weisz in “Disobedience“, an adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s bestselling novel, early October 2016. Weisz is also set to produce the movie. This reunites Rachel and Weisz, who previously worked together on Terrence Malick’s “To The Wonder“. However, Weisz’s scenes did not make it into the final cut. Principal photography for the movie began January 3, 2017 in the UK and they wrapped up filming Mid-February 2017. The movie is expected to be released in 2017.

    Early October 2016 it was announced that Rachel was set to narrate Lucy Maud Montgomery’s ‘Anne of Green Gables’ which would be released by Amazon’s Audible. The audiobook was released on November 22, 2016. Rachel was excited to be part of this project, she said: “Performing Anne Of Green Gables was incredibly exciting. It contains so much emotion and delight that you just can’t help but smile, and laugh, and cry. Loving the book as I did growing up, it was such a pleasure to perform it now (x).” She added later-on: “I just got to do an audible book of Anne of Green Gables, which is one of my favorite fictional characters. I just bow down to her she’s so phenomenal. It was so fun, totally different set of skills, which I found out I actually don’t possess, but yeah you get to do things you’d never imagine you’d be doing (x).”

    Doctor Strange” was released on October 25, 2016 in the UK and was released nationwide on November 4, 2016 in the USA. The movie charted #1 of $85 million at 3,882 theaters in the United States. This would mark a personal record for Rachel, with her highest opening weekend in the USA thus far. The movie grossed over $677 million in total worldwide, marking it the third movie – besides the “Sherlock Holmes” movies – of Rachel to hit the $500 million mark. The movie is also a critical success and received positive reviews.

    Rachel joined Jason Bateman in “Game Night” early January 2017 with directors duo Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who also wrote the latest draft of the script. Jesse Plemons, Kylie Bunbury, Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Michael Cyril Creighton, and Joshua Mikel are also set co-star. The movie reunites Rachel with her “State Of Play” co-star Jason Bateman and her “Spotlight” co-star Michael Cyril Creighton. Principal photography for the movie began early April 2017 and is expected to continue until May 2017 in and around of Atlanta. The movie is expected to be released on February 13, 2018 in the USA.

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    The Future

    The Future. A look at what the future will and might bring, including the upcoming “Disobedience” & “Game Night”.

  • I just always look for something that’s going to challenge me, some uncharted territory. A director who’s passionate, good storytelling — those are usually at the top of the list [with selecting roles] and then I go from there.– Rachel McAdams, Hello! Canada (2016)
  • Rachel currently has two upcoming movies: “Disobedience” and “Game Night“. The former made it’s world premiere during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival in September 2017, while the latter will be released nationwide on February 23, 2018 in the USA.

    “When I feel lost, I try to remind myself that’s a good thing. Often when I’ve been lost in the past, some of my most interesting work happens.”
    – Rachel McAdams, People (2016)

    Rachel has expressed her interest in working with female filmmakers in the future. She recently said: “I haven’t worked with nearly enough female directors and I would love to expand on that more. Everyday we are moving towards having access to that, so I’m really exited about the conversations that are coming up and where we’re headed (x).” She also added that she excited that it seems times are changing in hollywood for women: “Yeah it’s moving, sometimes it moves slowly and you have to be patient, which us women are good at, fortunately, but yeah it’s exciting that it is such a topic of conversation. I think the way to everything is education, knowledge and that is power so keep chatting about it (x).” In the past Rachel has expressed interested in working with director Jane Campion: “With Jane, I like the way she moves the camera and how close she gets to people (x).” She recently expressed that she would like to work with director Kathryn Bigelow. Furthermore, actors she wants to work with include Meryl Streep and Joan Cusack (“I love Joan Cusack actually. She’s one of my favourites [x]“)

    Besides female filmmakers Rachel has expressed she wants to work several male filmmakers, including directors Michel Gondry (“I love his [Gondry’s] collaboration with Charlie Kaufman and the way he breaks time-line boundaries [x]“), Paul Thomas Anderson and again with Terrence Malick, since he is one of her favorite filmmakers. As for actors, she was mentioned Sam Rockwell (“I think he’s such an incredible actor. Such a chameleon [x]“) and Daniel Day-Lewis (“I think he’s the bee’s knees when it comes to being such an incredible actor and he’s so unique and classy in his choices [x]“). She previously mentioned James Franco and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (“I’m over the moon I get to meet and work with him [x]), with whom she both got the opportunity to work with on respectively “Every Thing Will Be Fine” and “A Most Wanted Man”.

    In the past Rachel has acknowledged the lack of interesting roles for actresses, commending “there are only so many really juicy parts to go around, so sometimes you have to try and make the less juicy ones a bit more juicy (x).” She also acknowledged that’s “though out there (x)” because there are fewer roles out there: “There are fewer great female roles [than male] and a lot of talented, strong actresses all fighting for them (x).” However, Rachel remains grateful for the opportunities she has gotten thus far: “I am just grateful people want to watch me – and that I’ve been able to find some diversification. I’ll keep trying different genres – except horror. I’m terrified of horror films. Though that might be a different experience (x).” She also admits that there is something to be found in each role: “there is always something to be found – and that is my job: to make it creatively satisfying for myself and compelling for people watching (x).”

    “In my own life, I tend to fight the good fight and I at least go back for one more round before I give up on something.”
    – Rachel McAdams, Courier Mail (2016)

    For future projects, Rachel admits she is not necessarily looking for ‘strong’ female characters: “With any project I work on—not just True Detective—I don’t feel the need just to play a strong woman. I don’t want the audience to say, ‘Oh, she was so strong.’ I want to play characters that are flawed and interesting (x).” Rachel seems to be looking for parts she hasn’t played before: “I believe in playing all kinds of different characters, you know characters that are fragile and can be strong as well (x).” Furthermore, Rachel wants to “keep exploring new territory (x).” Rachel has mentioned she would like to return to the stage one day: “I would like to get back to the stage one day as it is my first love (x).” She’d also admitted that she would love to take on a transformative role one day, such as Renee Zellweger in ‘Bridget Jones’ or Charlize Theron in ‘Monster’, stating that she “can’t think of anything” that would be a limit for her in her transformation.

    Early talks about the sequel to “Wedding Crashers” have been around ever since the release of the movie in 2005. Late November 2016 the sequel seems closer to getting the green light than before with Evan Susser & Van Robichaux hired as screenplay writers. However it’s not near a green light according to reports. The third installment of “Sherlock Holmes” is also still a possibility. Recent reports suggest that the movie might start production at the end of next year. Over the years Rachel also has been rumored to be in talks or attached to numerous projects, including “The Emperor’s Children“, Doug Liman’s Luna, Ness and “Honeymoon with Harry“. We might also see Rachel in a Steven Soderbergh in the future. Channing Tatum revealed during one of the interviews of “The Vow” press tour that Rachel came on set while he was filming “Magic Mike” with Soderbergh to talk about “doing a movie together”.

    Besides exploring how far she can stretch herself with acting, Rachel might have other future projects ahead of her. She revealed her dream is to have a farm one day: “I would love to own a farm or even just work on a farm, grow organic vegetables and keep chickens and pigs (x).” Furthermore, back in 2006 she revealed she would like to facilitate a theatre program for kids one day and maybe make one or two movies a year: “One of the big things I’ve been thinking about is a way to give back. Ideally I’d like to facilitate some kind of kids’ art program, or get involved in children’s theatre – after all, it got me where I am (x).”

    Rachel is currently represented by Magnolia Entertainment, WME (William Morris Agency), and attorney Howard Fishman. In the beginning of her career, Rachel was represented by The Gersh Agency until 2005. Before signing to WME, Rachel was represented by UTA until 2013. From the beginning of her career, Rachel has been represented by her manager Shelley Browning of Magnolia Entertainment.

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