The Cinema Source
Published: March 11, 2008
The lovely Rachel McAdams has returned! The Hollywood golden girl has been decidedly absent from the big screen after gigantic hits like Mean Girls, The Notebook and Red Eye shot her to stardom in 2004 and 2005. Taking a step back from the spotlight was a risk, but it just goes to show that McAdams is not slave to Hollywood. She’ll take things at her own pace, make her own decisions, and come out better in the long run. This month, she reenters the movies with a reinvigorated turn in the new mature relationship drama Married Life.
“The break was really great,” she says. “I felt really inspired working with [director] Ira [Sachs]. He was very gentle and very kind and very supportive and I just felt reignited. Sometimes after a project you’re just completely spent but I was just ready to do more after this experience.”
McAdams enters a room with the same grace, poise, and romantic spirit we have come to know through her films. She’s soft-spoken and gracious, proud of her Canadian heritage, and genuinely excited to work on projects that inspire her. With her newly shortened, brown hair pinned up in loose curls, a stylish little-black-dress and a phenomenal pair of strappy heels, McAdams seems ready to once again take the movie industry by storm.
Her current look is almost completely opposite from the platinum blonde woman of the 1940′s she plays in Married Life. Kay is a young widow who finds herself torn between two older men ”Harry (Chris Cooper), a smitten married man, and Richard (Pierce Brosnan), a fun-loving cad who also happens to be Harry’s best friend.”
“I think her circumstance at that time is such that she’s not the marrying kind anymore, which is so sad,” McAdams explains of her character. “She’s young and bright and beautiful, but being widowed at 30 suddenly you’re an old maid. She sort of locked herself away in her house so I think that Harry really appeals to her because they’re both like little broken birds, I feel like. Like with broken wings and they’re trying to nurse each other back to health and they’re kind of hiding away from the world.”
With Richard, though, a different side to Kay emerges. “I think that Harry allows her to forget that she is still a young woman and that she’s very passionate and that she loves to go out and dance and be less inhibited and I think that’s what Richard brings out in her,” she says. “He stokes the fire again and reminds her of her former self and asks for more.”
The complicated love triangle in which Kay finds herself is something McAdams tries to avoid in her own life. (She most famously dated her Notebook co-star Ryan Gosling, but the two have since quietly split.) “I don’t think I’ve been in the messy situation that Kay found herself in where you have to leave one man for another, especially his best friend,” she says. “I try not to date friends ever. That’s just a policy amongst my group of friends that we don’t date people that a friend has dated previously and I think that’s a very good rule of thumb.”
Though McAdams couldn’t relate to Kay in terms of her relationships, she used Kay’s hair, makeup and clothing as ways of getting into character, and she also found herself watching classic films from that time period for inspiration. “I certainly looked for inspiration in watching old films and Ira pointed out Kim Novak to me so I watched some of her stuff,” she says. “I’ve always loved the 40′s so I paid particular attention to that era anyway. I didn’t base it on anyone in particular but the clothes were all originals from the 40′s; nothing was recreated. And the hair, I found it so fascinating that they were that blonde then and you forget because it’s black and white photos, but they were very bold and brave when it came to their style. You think of it as conservative but I think it was actually quite outlandish at times.”
Married Life wasn’t the only project McAdams had been working on since we last saw her in 2005′s The Family Stone. She still managed to keep quite busy during her self-imposed hiatus. “I was still reading and actively seeking out projects,” she says. “This film The Time Traveler’s Wife that I just finished was an ongoing developmental process. But yeah, I sort of took a break. I had been working back to back for a while. I went back home to Canada and kind of reconnected and bought a house there. I started an eco website with two of my friends, which it’s like a full-time job. We run it ourselves just the three of us so I kind of put all of my energy into that for a little while and now it’s nice to have the foundation of that built and now I can kind of jump between the two worlds, which is great. It’s been nice to get back into it though.”
The upcoming The Time Traveler’s Wife, based on the best-selling novel by Audrey Niffenegger and co-starring Eric Bana, wrapped in November. It follows the unconventional romance of a man with the ability to jump through time and the woman he loves. “It definitely follows the relationship and some characters had to fall away,” she says. “We just couldn’t do the whole 500 page book. There were so many things I was so sad. I’d come to work and say, ‘What about this? And how about this chapter? And what about this passage?’ And [the director] would be like we can’t cram everything in. So we really focused on the love story itself, from both of our points of view, just like the book. And there’s definitely time travel involved.”
Sounds like it’s safe to say that time has served McAdams well!