Published: October 31, 2013
If Love Actually, Notting Hill, and/or Bridget Jones’ Diary made you laugh, tear up, and want to watch it over and over again, have I got the film of the holiday season for you. Richard Curtis, the mastermind behind those classic romantic comedies, is back with About Time. And the title couldn’t be more fitting! For a decade, we’ve been craving a movie full of heart, wit, and charm like only Curtis can create, but we don’t have to wait any longer!
The writer/director’s new funny and supremely heartfelt time travel flick, starring Domhnall Gleeson (who you may recognize as Bill Weasley from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 & 2) opposite everyone’s favorite actress Rachel McAdams, is in theaters this coming week. And we were lucky enough to talk exclusively with Rachel about her latest love story and more …
But, first, the gist: Gleeson is Tim Lake, who turns 21 and finds out from his father — played by the always-entertaining, pitch-perfect Bill Nighy — that all the men in their family can time travel. Tim’s dad warns him that the power isn’t to be used to, say, change huge world events or meet historical figures, but he can smooth over moments in life he wishes he could’ve done differently …
For instance, he can travel back to make sure he makes a dashing first impression on the woman he soon realizes is the love of his life: Mary, a quirky American book editor living in London, played by McAdams, who you can just tell was having a blast with Gleeson. Thanks to time travel, Tim can ensure they have the best sex ever on their first try (nice going!) and change his best man at their wedding multiple times to get the best speech outta the deal. He can try to help his sister circumvent her greatest mistakes, but really, that’s not what this gift of time travel is really meant for.
mary and tim about time
And therein lies the film’s way of setting up its heartwarming, thought-provoking, but oh-so-simple message … which you may be able to guess, but I’m not going to spell out for you, lest I ruin the relatable, heart-soaring, tissues-required, just-perfect epiphany Tim has about how he wants to spend his, well, time … and life.
When we caught up with Rachel McAdams, the sweet, down-to-earth actress shed some light not only on About Time, but other experiences in her own past that lead her up to this point (kinda like the movie!) …
What drew you to the film and the character?
It’s a message so many of us can relate to, and I also wanted to work with Richard Curtis. … I was definitely a fan of his work … Love Actually, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’ Diary. He’s so prolific. And I also heard it may be Richard’s last movie! So I thought this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I like that you don’t watch the love story fall apart. You think that it’s gonna be about that, and it’s about so much more. They’re the glue that stays together, and you watch them deal with the curveballs that life throws at them, as a couple, as a team. That was important to Richard, that they [face everything] as team. I thought that was different, refreshing!
What was the most challenging aspect of playing Mary?
Definitely the most challenging aspect was playing a pregnant woman when you’re not! Going through those stages and making that look realistic. Also, [it’s a challenge] any time your character ages significantly over the course of the film.
Something I loved about the film is how it makes you laugh as much as cry. You can tell you had a great time filming it. Could you share a funny story from the set?
Domhnall is Irish, and he has a great sense of humor. He’s very playful and a little bit naughty! Richard’s partner is good friends with Stella McCartney, whom I’m a huge fan of. I got to meet her, and she gave me a purse! I told Dom, and he acted like he was really hurt. He had this plastic cheap beach bag that he carried his script and his stuff in, and he wrote ‘Stella McCartney’ with permanent marker on his beach bag and carried it around set!
Has anyone compared this film to The Time Traveler’s Wife, in which you played Clare Abshire, whose husband Henry also time travels?
When I read this script, I really didn’t think about Time Traveler’s Wife at all, because that we dealt with very differently. [In About Time], it’s a much lighter touch. [The time travel is] less of an affliction and more of a fantasy. And you get to indulge it for a while and it’s a way of making things better. About Time is a lot more whimsical and has a great deal more humor.
What was your favorite aspect of Mary’s costumes?
Richard would wear the same thing every day, if he could! He has like a uniform! I think he wanted me to dress like him! I loved that Mary would embrace the British style. We tried to make her an American who wanted to be a British girl … tights and cute little skirts and scarves. Dressed for bad weather at all times with a wink and a nod! And a little bit of whimsy and a bookishness.
Speaking of costumes, in which of your movies did you have the best wardrobe in your opinion?
Probably Sherlock Holmes. Beautiful costumes true to that era, with intricate, tiny buttons — a real corset! When I got to set in the morning, I’d stick my stomach out, so [I thought] when [my costumer] would be tying me up into the corset, she wouldn’t be able to get it that tight. But her trick was to make me laugh, tell me jokes, and as soon as I would laugh, she’d tie it as tight as she possibly could!
If you could travel back in time to relive the making of any particular film, which would it be?
People have asked me what film I had the best time on, and I’d say Wedding Crashers. It was an absolutely beautiful time of year, filming out on the Chesapeake.
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