Published: July 26, 2015
“I’D be a mess,” confesses Rachel McAdams at the thought of dating a boxer.
The Canadian-born actor is promoting her upcoming drama Southpaw, in which she portrays the tough-as-nails wife of a middleweight champion, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.
Having to watch one’s significant other get beaten up for a living requires a certain kind of courage. “I don’t know how those women do it. I think it takes incredible strength and a real backbone,” she says. “I know I’d find it really difficult. I mean, never say never, but I’d be worrying all the time.”
Worlds away from the boxing arena, the 36-year-old’s well-documented romantic history includes relationships with fellow co-stars Ryan Gosling (The Notebook) Josh Lucas (Morning Glory) and Michael Sheen (Midnight in Paris).
And now in Southpaw, she shares a palpable chemistry with her current leading man, Gyllenhaal. Unsurprisingly, their friendship has sparked rumours that they are indeed an item off-screen.
“Oh, no,” she laughs, dismissing the reports.
“We have known each other for years; we’re friends so we already had a foundation when we started filming, and then (because of the movie) we spent a lot of time together,” she says.
Currently single, she is characteristically tight-lipped about such matters. “What am I looking for?” She says, repeating the question. “Well, let’s see.” She sighs. “The big ones: kindness, humour, malleability, a sense of adventure.”
For those not well versed in the world of boxing Southpaw is a term referring to a boxer’s stance. McAdams took time to learn the ropes. “I realised that you can be in top physical condition but if you turn your head the wrong way at the wrong moment you not only lose a fight and damage your career, but be physically destroyed forever.”
She also stepped inside the ring. “I think it’s a very seductive sport and I suppose we’re all drawn to the danger aspect of it. I did some boxing on my own and worked with Jake’s trainer. He took me under his wing, and although I certainly didn’t need to do that, it was very informative for my character. I also watched Jake box a lot because I assumed my character would have done that. It was really inspiring to watch him become this man,” she beams.
McAdams most recently starred in the ill-received rom-com Aloha, in which she plays a wife and mother of two kids. Although no immediate plans to enter into the world of motherhood, she says, “I think everybody imagines what kind of parent they’ll be or what kind of a partner they’ll be, but it’s really hard to know until you get there. It’s probably nothing like what you think it’ll be when you’re in the position. I’m looking forward to the surprise, the challenge, and the adjustments I’ll probably have to make when the time comes. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot about myself.”
McAdams is also getting rave reviews for her role as a no-nonsense police officer in the second series of True Detective. The petite blonde is a regular fixture on the red carpet and enjoyed de-glamming for the role as a gritty detective. “I’m really proud of the fact that they didn’t go into it with any intentions of my character being glamorous or being fancy,” she smiles. “I really liked that she felt good in her own skin and was comfortable with who she is.”
Despite her apparent femininity, it seems McAdams is best when she’s playing it tough.
“I think it’s an exciting time for women. There are so many incredible women out there doing incredible things in all fields. I’m excited to see us continue to push the envelope and rock it out.”
From where does her strength emanate?
“Well, my mum’s a very strong woman. She’s also soft, vulnerable and very nurturing so I can only assume whatever strength there is inherently in me, started there.”
Next up for McAdams is another woman kicking-ass in the movie Spotlight about the true story of the Massachusetts Catholic Church sex molestation scandal and subsequent cover-up of the local Archdiocese for which the Boston Globe newspaper won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize.
McAdams plays one of the investigative journalists. “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. I got to spend time with this amazing woman who I got to play, the only female on the team who was an integral part of these crimes coming to light.”
McAdams hasn’t followed the trend of actors moving to Los Angeles and prefers her life in Toronto. “It’s nice and quiet. It’s a break from the business and my work. My family is there and family is really important to me. I’ve lived in Toronto for over 20 years, after I went to theatre school (in Ontario). It’s my home,” she smiles. “It’s where my heart is.”
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