The Cinema Source: Rachel McAdams Interview for Red Eye

The Cinema Source
Published: January 28, 2008

Upon first glance there are number of adjectives that come to mind when watching Rachel McAdams stretched across a sixty-foot projector screen; sultry, beautiful, captivatingpretty much any adjective you would use to describe a work of art. Listening to her speak, however, may be even more exciting than watching her act. Despite a face that would put the Mona Lisa to shame, the seemingly guarded actress looks as if she is stuck in contemplation 24/7, carefully articulating sentences through perpetually pouted lips. And just like her performances onscreen you hang on every word, your ears tense from anticipation, waiting like a treasure hungry pirate for all that gold to fall into your lap. Her talent for producing that tension however unintentional it may be has landed her alongside (literally) Cillian Murphy in the Wes Craven helmed Red Eye, a “horror movie frustrating” thriller suspended 30, 000 feet in the unlikeliest of places a commercial jetliner. Audiences will no doubt will have their fingernails dug into the armrests for the minuscule eighty-five minute ride, and that’s exactly the type of feeling the actress wanted to portray onscreen. ” I was grateful for the tension that you felt in those circumstance, you know literally stuck in that seat for twelve hours, with this guy. And the cameras are right in your face and everyone is watching you and there’s all this pressure to find this tension and find the emotion. It raised the stakes, it made everything that much more urgent and I was grateful that it was set up as such.”

Perhaps more impressive than McAdams ability to find those moments within the film that showed both the strength and vulnerability of her character Lisa Reisert, could be her ridiculously speedy rise to Hollywood’s upper echelon of leading ladies. Off the success of the 2004′s most addicting tearjerker The Notebook, McAdams played opposite Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in the laugh out loud comedy Wedding Crashers, with the raucous comedy banking $177 million dollars to date. Still, with all the dollars and cents and attention, acting has become more about self-exploration than a paycheck. “I think it comes along with the territory you always learn, there’s always self discovery which is wonderful but I suppose it’ s dangerous to have acting as therapy; but it’s always nice to learn. I’ve learned so much about the world, about myself, about human behavior and psychology.”

If she’s telling the truth then watching Red Eye may be more than just a your average film; it could be a compatibility test for the male viewing audience and a crash (no pun intended) course for the ladies in Beautiful Heroism 101. But when creating her deceptively complex “character”, the firm hands of a legendary director behind the camera doesn’t hurt either. Wes Craven, the man behind more than a dozen horror movies kept a tight ship on set but gave his darling lead breathing room to carve her own niche. “Wes always kept us on track in terms of pacing and rhythm but allowed us room and breadth to find the moments, to find the honesty and the authenticity within the scene and for Cillian and I to find each other.” The fruits of her labors are a pleasure to watch unfold; turning Lisa Reisert, the lonely Miami hotel manager, victimized by Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy) into Wonder Woman in no easy task, but McAdams extraordinary range is just a taste of what’s to come. ” I know I’m lucky and things have happened in an odd and sort of uncharacteristic sort of way and they’ve brought me to a different place in a short period of time and I’m excited.”

She’s not the only one. With a growing resume and her face gracing three movies by year’s end the future isn’t just looking bright for the sensational twenty-nine year old, it’s damn near dazzling. After Red Eye she finished up a new romantic comedy Family Stone, set to hit theatres in November with an ensemble cast that includes Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker and Luke Wilson. And just as she does when talking about her current project, those hunter green eyes light up when talking about her future endeavors as well. “Family Stone, that’s a great character. I play the youngest of five, Amy Stone and she’s having a hard time leaving the nest; she’s a little troubled and she’s a real hate on for Sarah Jessica Parker. She has some issues, which was great, she’s a complex character and she has some real depth.”

If Wedding Crashers was a foreshadowing of how Canada’s hottest export handles comedy, I guess the only logical question would be “How far in advance can you buy advance tickets for a November movie?”

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