The Toronto Star
Published: August 8, 2009
NEW YORK — For Rachel McAdams, coming home to film The Time Traveler’s Wife in Toronto was a mixed blessing.
On the one hand, she was able to live at home. But she had to deal with the responsibilities that came with that.
“It was so great to film at home because I got to sleep in and get out of bed and walk to work and I really got to know Ontario in a different way because we shot some scenes a little bit outside Toronto,” said the 30-year-old actress, who was born in London, Ont., and has a home in Toronto.
“But there’s a downside because, when you’re on location, you jump out of your life, but when you’re filming at home there are no excuses for not getting the bed made and not making the rounds and visiting people and living your regular life.
“So in a sense you’re living two lives when you film where you live and sometimes it’s nice to be able to separate the two,” she explained during an interview at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
In The Time Traveler’s Wife, she plays Clare, a woman who believes she and the time-travelling Henry, played by Eric Bana, are destined to be together even though Henry’s travels force them apart. She desperately tries to build a life with him despite his sudden and involuntary disappearances.
Abruptly disappearing from someone’s life is something McAdams can relate to, and she is full of admiration for Clare’s tolerance and love for Henry.
“Actors are gypsies and we’re constantly going in and out of our lives and jumping into others,” she said. “As a person who travels a lot, I hope that the person I am with would be patient with me, because that’s the nature of my life.”
Although set in Chicago, most of the movie was filmed in Toronto, with Osgoode Hall Law Library standing in for Chicago’s Newberry Library.
The movie, which was co-produced by Brad Pitt, is based on the 2003 best-selling novel by artist/writer Audrey Niffenegger, which McAdams read several years ago.
“I thought it was a beautiful love story and I was intrigued by the character of Clare, so when the movie came about, I was excited at the prospect of playing her,” she said. “She’s full of fascinating contradictions because she seeks out the extraordinary and falls in love with a time traveller but she also desperately wants some stability in her life. She is committed to her man but wants to have a normal marriage and home life.
“I think that a love that can withstand the biggest obstacles is inspiring and the obstacle Clare and Henry face is an incredible challenging one.”
McAdams started acting at 10, appearing in Shakespeare productions with a London theatre group. She entered the drama program at York University and appeared in numerous student films. She went on to star in several movies-of-the-week before making her feature film debut in 2001 with a co-starring role in My Name is Tanino.
McAdams played bitchy teen queens in 2002’s The Hot Chick and 2004’s Mean Girls but performed the ingenue Kate McNab in the first season of Canadian cult hit Slings & Arrows in 2003. More recently, she has appeared in The Notebook, Wedding Crashers and State of Play.
While filming The Notebook she began an off-screen romance with co-star Ryan Gosling. He is, coincidentally, also from London but they didn’t know each other. Their romance ended after three years and since then she has occasionally dated actor Josh Lucas.
She is still in touch with Gosling, she says, adding: “I think there’s a lot of clarity that comes with time. Good things come from knowing yourself really well and I’m enjoying the evolution, slowly but surely.” She laughed.
The hard-working actress spent the winter in England, where she co-starred with Robert Downey Jr. in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes and is filming Morning Glory with Harrison Ford in Los Angeles.
“I love my job and love having to quickly learn how to be a whole new person with a whole new life,” she said. “I feel very, very lucky to be working. The film industry’s going through changes and it’s a hard business to be employed in and I feel very blessed. I think working on a variety of films and choosing different roles helps.
“And, to me, one of the greatest things about acting is seeing how far away from yourself you can get while still connecting with your emotional core.”
© 2009 Toronto Star | Written by John Hiscock | No copyright infringment intended.