Rachel McAdams (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Rachel Anne McAdams (born November 17, 1978) is a Canadian actress. After graduating from a four-year theatre program at York University in 2001, McAdams initially worked in Canadian television and film productions such as My Name Is Tanino, Perfect Pie (for which she received a Genie Award nomination) and Slings and Arrows (for which she won a Gemini Award). Her first Hollywood movie was the 2002 comedy The Hot Chick. McAdams found fame in 2004, starring in the teen comedy Mean Girls and the romantic drama The Notebook. In 2005, she appeared in the romantic comedy Wedding Crashers, the psychological thriller Red Eye, and the family drama The Family Stone. She was hailed by the media as Hollywood's new "it girl" and received a BAFTA nomination for Best Rising Star.
However, McAdams withdrew from public life in 2006 and 2007. During this time, she turned down leading roles in high-profile films such as The Devil Wears Prada. She made a low-key return to work in 2008, starring in two limited release films: the film noir Married Life, and the road trip movie The Lucky Ones. She returned to prominence in 2009 with appearances in the political thriller State of Play, the science-fiction romance The Time Traveler's Wife, and the action-adventure film Sherlock Holmes. McAdams's first star vehicle was the 2010 comedy Morning Glory. In 2011, she starred in the romantic comedy Midnight in Paris and made a cameo appearance in the action-adventure sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. In 2012, she appeared in the romantic drama The Vow. In 2013, McAdams starred in the romantic drama To the Wonder, the erotic thriller Passion and the romantic comedy About Time. She will next be seen in Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man, Wim Wenders's Every Thing Will Be Fine and Cameron Crowe's as-yet-untitled Hawaii project.
Rachel Anne McAdams was born in London, Ontario, and grew up in nearby St. Thomas. Her mother, Sandra (née Gale), is a nurse, and her father, Lance, is a retired truck driver and furniture mover. Her grandmother is of Welsh descent. McAdams is the eldest of three children with a sister Kayleen, a celebrity make-up artist, and a brother Daniel. She began figure skating at the age of four but turned down an opportunity to move to Toronto at the age of nine for pairs training. Skating then became merely "a hobby". She competed in the sport until the age of 18, winning regional awards. She has since said that skating prepared her for physical acting, because it trained her to be "in tune" with her body. McAdams was educated at Myrtle Street Public School and, later, Central Elgin Collegiate Institute. She did not enjoy school. Nonetheless, she played an active role in student life. In addition to playing sports, McAdams served on the student council, participated in the Crimestoppers program and was a member of the Peer Helping Team. She worked at a McDonalds restaurant during the summer holidays for three years.
McAdams first developed an interest in performing when she was seven and, while her parents did not discourage her, they did not "go out and find [her] an agent". She attended both Disney and Shakespeare summer camps as a child. From the age of twelve, McAdams appeared in Original Kids Theatre Company, London productions. In her late teens, she directed children's theatre productions. She was also involved in school stage productions, most notably winning a performance award at the Sears Ontario Drama Festival. She was inspired by a married couple who taught English and Drama respectively in grades 11 and 12. Her English teacher introduced her to the work of Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. McAdams intended to take Cultural Studies at the University of Western Ontario before being persuaded by her Drama teacher that a professional acting career was a viable option. She enrolled in York University's four-year theatre program and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts honours degree in 2001. While at university, McAdams worked with the Toronto-based Necessary Angel Theatre Company.
Early work (2001-05)
McAdams made her first onscreen appearance in Shotgun Love Dolls, a 2001 MTV pilot filmed during spring break from York University. McAdams also made her first feature film appearance that year in My Name is Tanino. The Italian-Canadian co-production was filmed in Sicily and it marked the 22-year-old actress's first time on an airplane. McAdams later earned a Genie Award nomination in her native Canada for her role as a teenage Wendy Crewson in Perfect Pie. Her first Hollywood movie was 2002's The Hot Chick which McAdams has described as a "huge milestone" in her career. She played a catty high school student who swaps bodies with a small-time criminal. The Los Angeles Times felt she "emerges as a young actress of much promise" while the Daily Mail described McAdams and Anna Faris as "talents to watch, but they are let down by everything around them". The film grossed $54 million worldwide. McAdams then returned to Canada to star in Slings and Arrows, a mini-series about backstage theatre life. She was written out of the second season of the program following her success in the United States. She received two Gemini Award nominations for her work on the program, with one win.
McAdams' breakout role came in the 2004 teen comedy Mean Girls. The 25-year-old was cast as Regina George, a malicious teenage queen bee, and she looked to Alec Baldwin's performance in Glengarry Glen Ross for character inspiration. USA Today praised her "comic flair" while The Daily Telegraph found her "delightfully hateful". The San Francisco Chronicle felt that "McAdams brings glamour and magnetism to Regina, but also the right hint of comic distance. The film grossed $129 million worldwide and earned McAdams two MTV Movie Awards. Mean Girls later reached number 12 in an Entertainment Weekly list of the Greatest Ever High School Movies. Tina Fey, who wrote the script and co"starred in the film, has credited McAdams with teaching her to act for a camera rather than an audience: "She's a film actor. She's not pushing. And so I kind of learned that lesson from watching her." McAdams's second role of 2004 was in the romantic drama The Notebook, a film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks's novel of the same name. She played a wealthy Southern belle who has a forbidden affair with Ryan Gosling's character, a poor laborer. McAdams spent time in Charleston, South Carolina prior to filming to familiarize herself with the accent, and took ballet and etiquette classes. Filming took place in late 2002 and early 2003. Although Gosling and McAdams became romantically involved in 2005, they had a combative relationship on set. "We inspired the worst in each other," Gosling has said. "It was a strange experience, making a love story and not getting along with your co-star in any way." At one point, Gosling asked director Nick Cassavetes to "bring somebody else in for my off-camera shot" because he felt McAdams was being uncooperative. The New York Times praised the "spontaneous and combustible" performances of the two leads while Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times was won over by the "beauty and clarity" of McAdams's performance. The Chicago Tribune declared her "a real discovery" who "infuses young Allie with that radiant, breathlessly winning ingenue grace and charm that breaks hearts". The film grossed over $115 million worldwide. McAdams won an MTV Movie Award and four Teen Choice Awards. Entertainment Weekly has said that the movie contains the All-Time Best Movie Kiss while the Los Angeles Times has included a scene from the film in a list of the 50 Classic Movie Kisses. The Notebook has appeared on many Most Romantic Movies lists. "I'm so grateful to have a film that people respond to in that way," McAdams told Elle in 2011. "It was a big deal".
2005 saw McAdams star in three films. In the comedy Wedding Crashers, McAdams played Claire Cleary, the daughter of an influential politician and a love interest for both Owen Wilson and Bradley Cooper's characters. McAdams listened repeatedly to Landslide by Fleetwood Mac to prepare for emotional scenes and Wilson has said the song made her cry immediately: "It was like turning on a faucet". She trained for a sailing certification for a boating sequence because her character was said to be an accomplished sailor. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times felt McAdams "makes the most of her underdeveloped character" and "grows more appealing with every new role". Variety found her "a beguiling presence" who "actually creates a real character - a rarity for females in one of these lad-mag escapades". From a production budget of $40 million, the film grossed over $285 million worldwide. McAdams next appeared opposite Cillian Murphy in Red Eye, a Wes Craven thriller about a young hotel manager held captive aboard a red-eye flight. Craven has said McAdams was the only actress he considered for the part. She was drawn to the relatable qualities of her character: "She was not some sweaty, tank-top-wearing, Uzi-carrying super woman". Variety found her "increasingly impressive" while Roger Ebert asserted that "she brings more presence and credibility to her role than is really expected; she acts without betraying the slightest awareness that she"s inside a genre. Her performance qualifies her for heavy-duty roles." Upon release, the film, which was made on a budget of $26 million, earned over $95 million at the worldwide box office. A supporting role in the seasonal family drama The Family Stone was McAdams's final film appearance of 2005. The film, an ensemble with Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson, and Claire Danes, gave McAdams an opportunity to play a disheveled, sardonic sister, rather than the usual "obvious" girlfriend or wife roles. She was eager to work with Keaton and remarked, "It"s never about line counts for me. It"s about the people I get to work with." Variety noted that "a deglammed but still radiant McAdams proves once again that she's the real deal, delivering a deliciously feisty performance". The New York Times felt that her "engaging screen presence holds your attention and sympathy despite the handicap presented by her character's personality." The film was a commercial success: it cost $18 million to make and grossed over $92 million worldwide.
Career break and low-key return (2006-08)
At this point in her career, McAdams was hailed as "the next Julia Roberts" and the new "Hollywood it girl". Vanity Fair invited McAdams, along with Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley, to appear on its March 2006 cover, the annual Hollywood issue. Upon arrival on the photo set, McAdams discovered it was a nude session and left. She later parted ways with her publicist, who had not informed her in advance. Knightley later recounted, "Quite early on Rachel just said, 'No, I'm not into that.' She's a lovely girl, and I really respect her for doing that." When asked about the incident in 2008, McAdams had "no regrets".
McAdams withdrew from public life in 2006 and 2007. "There were a lot of cooks in the kitchen, a lot of voices around me, and I wanted to step away so I could hear my own voice again," McAdams said in 2013. "Truthfully, I never really wanted to be a big movie star. I never even wanted to work outside of Canada, or outside of the theatre." During this period, the actress turned down roles in The Devil Wears Prada, Casino Royale, Mission: Impossible III and Get Smart. In February 2006, she made an one-off stage appearance in The Vagina Monologues at St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Toronto to raise funds for V-Day. Also that year, McAdams received a Rising Star Award nomination from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and hosted the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement.
McAdams returned to work in 2008, appearing in two limited release films. In the film noir Married Life, she played Kay, a young 1940s widow who wins the affections of two older men, played by Pierce Brosnan and Chris Cooper. In preparation for the role, McAdams studied old films, particularly those of Kim Novak. She has said the film shoot reenergized and re-inspired her and made her eager to work more often. Entertainment Weekly found McAdams "a particularly delightful vision after her two-year intermission". Variety bemoaned her break from the big screen but felt that, despite a performance of "tender feeling", "her natural vivaciousness and spontaneity are straightjacketed" by the film noir format. The film was a box-office failure. It grossed just over $2 million worldwide, failing to recoup its production budget of $12 million. The Lucky Ones, a story about three Iraq War soldiers on a brief road trip back in the United States, was McAdams's second film of 2008, and she starred alongside Tim Robbins and Michael Pena. She trained at a real boot camp, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, prior to filming. McAdams, speaking in 2011, said that the character of Colee was "probably one of my favorite characters I've ever played." The New York Times found her "luminous as always" while Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times hailed the performance as "her coming of age as an actress". "Previously she has been seen mostly as a hot chick or an idealized sweetheart", he wrote. "Here she is feisty, vulnerable, plucky, warm, funny ... Watch the poignance of the scene when she meets her boyfriend's family." Entertainment Weekly found her "feisty, gorgeous, and as mercurial as a mood ring". The Lucky Ones is the least commercially successful film of McAdams's career as of 2012, having grossed just $266,967 worldwide.
Return to mainstream studio films (2009-12)
McAdams starred in three films in 2009. State of Play, a political thriller based on a BBC television series, co-starred Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren, and Ben Affleck. McAdams played Della, an online reporter who investigates a possible conspiracy with a veteran print journalist, played by Crowe. As part of her research, McAdams visited The Washington Post's offices and met with politicians on Capitol Hill. Entertainment Weekly felt she was "perfectly cast as an ambitious wonkette" while The Daily Telegraph noted that "McAdams, with her lively eyes and large, expressive forehead, holds her own against Crowe. Mercifully, she avoids any temptation to play girly and demure to his grizzled alpha male." The film grossed over $87 million worldwide. McAdams's second 2009 project was the science-fiction romance The Time Traveler's Wife, an adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger's bestselling novel. McAdams fell "madly in love" with the book but was initially slightly hesitant to accept the film role because Clare, the long-suffering wife, is a "character that people have already cast in their heads". Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, "I'd watch the vibrant Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana in anything, but The Time Traveler's Wife is pushing it." The Los Angeles Times found her "luminous [yet], sadly, her facility as an actress is mostly wasted." Writing in The Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips, in an otherwise tepid review, said of her performance: "Every scene she"s in, even the silly ones, becomes better"truer, often against long odds"because she"s in it. Her work feels emotionally spontaneous yet technically precise. She has an unusually easy touch with both comedy and drama, and she never holds a melodramatic moment hostage." The film was a commercial success, earning over $101 million worldwide. Sherlock Holmes was McAdams's final movie of the year. She played Irene Adler, a love interest for Robert Downey, Jr.'s Sherlock, and welcomed the opportunity to play a character who is "her own boss and a real free spirit". Variety felt her character was "not very well integrated into the rest of the story, a shortcoming the normally resourceful McAdams is unable to do much about". The New York Times stated, "Ms. McAdams is a perfectly charming actress and performs gamely as the third wheel of this action-bromance tricycle. But Irene feels in this movie more like a somewhat cynical commercial contrivance. She offers a little something for the ladies and also something for the lads, who, much as they may dig fights and explosions and guns and chases, also like girls." The film was a major commercial success, earning over $524 million at the worldwide box office.
2010's Morning Glory, a comedy in which McAdams played a television producer attempting to improve the poor ratings of a morning television program, was billed as a starring vehicle for the actress. She initially felt she was unsuited to the role because "I'm not funny. So I said, 'if you need me to be funny, you might want to look somewhere else'". Roger Michell, the film's director, had a number of dinners with McAdams and persuaded her to join the cast. It was her second time to work with Diane Keaton, whom she has described as a mentor figure. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times said McAdams "gives the kind of performance we go to the movies for" while Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times felt she played "as lovable a lead as anyone since Amy Adams in Junebug" in an otherwise "routine" movie. The New York Post was impressed by "her gift for physical comedy", as was Variety. While the New York Times felt she "plays her role exceptionally well" and is "effortlessly likable", it called on Hollywood to give her parts "worthy" of her talent. "Ms. McAdams has to rely on her dimples to get by. She does, but she could do better." The film was a modest commercial success, grossing $58 million worldwide from a production budget of $40 million. McAdams was disappointed that the film failed to find a larger audience, remarking that "I only hear these businesspeople: 'Well, no one was sure who it was for.'"
McAdams' first film of 2011, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, opened the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and saw her reunite with Wedding Crashers's Owen Wilson. Allen wrote the part of the shrewish Inez for McAdams, after hearing "glowing reports" from her former co-star Diane Keaton. He has said that he is "crazy about Rachel" and wanted to give her the opportunity to play something other than "beautiful girls". The film was shot on location in Paris and McAdams has said that the experience "will always have a great place in my heart." The Guardian bemoaned that she "has morphed from the sweet thing in Wedding Crashers to the dream-crushing bitch that, according to American comedies, women become once they ensnare their man". Richard Corliss of Time "felt sorry for McAdams, whose usually winning presence is ground into hostile cliché". However, the Los Angeles Times felt she "deftly handles a part that is less amiable than usual for her" and The New York Times found her "superbly speeded-up". It has become Allen's highest grossing picture ever in North America and was the most commercially successful independent film of 2011. With a production budget of $17 million, the film has grossed over $151 million worldwide. McAdams, along with six other members of the cast, received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture nomination. Allen won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the film itself was nominated for three other Academy Awards, including Best Picture. McAdams's second screen appearance of 2011 was a cameo role in the action-adventure sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The lead female role was played by Noomi Rapace. Joel Silver, the film's producer, has said that "we always intended to have a different kind of girl for each movie" in the vein of Bond girls. He found it "complicated" to persuade McAdams to return in a supporting role: "She loved being with us, but she hoped to have a bigger role." The Wall Street Journal felt "she vanishes all too soon in this overproduced, self-enchanted sequel, and so does the spirit of bright invention that made the previous film such a pleasant surprise". The Huffington Post remarked that she "exhibits far more personality and roguish charm in her few moments here than she did in all of the previous film. Freed from the constraints of being the de-facto love interest, McAdams relishes the chance to go full-villain." The film has grossed over $543 million worldwide.
In 2012, McAdams starred in the romantic drama The Vow. McAdams and Channing Tatum played a newlywed couple who try to rebuild their relationship after a car crash leaves the wife with no recollections of their marriage. McAdams was drawn to the "roller coaster" faced by her character and found it interesting that the story was told "through the guy's eyes". The New York Times stated that "the dimply and adorable Rachel McAdams" brings "enough physical charm and emotional warmth to distract from the threadbare setting and the paper-thin plot". Newsday felt that McAdams, "exuding her usual uncanny warmth on-screen", "is the real draw". However, the Los Angeles Times felt she was "wasted" in the role: "She is such an appealing actress that it's hard not to wish someone could make better use" of her. Time found the film an example of McAdams "coasting" in "unabashedly romantic" movies and asserted that "she"s a much more versatile and clever actress" than such projects would suggest. The film, financed for $30 million, was a major commercial success and became her biggest box-office hit in a leading role. It topped the US box office and has grossed over $196 million worldwide.
About Time and upcoming projects (2013)
McAdams starred in three films in 2013. She first appeared in To the Wonder, a romantic drama written and directed by Terrence Malick. Playing a horse ranch worker in Oklahoma, McAdams serves as a love interest for her State of Play co-star Ben Affleck. She found Malick to be an "incredibly helpful" director; they discussed her character in detail and he took her on a tour of the local town, pointing out which house she would have grown up in and where she would have attended school. IndieWire noted that "McAdams has the least to do of the principals, but is wonderfully haunted and sad in her brief appearances". The Telegraph felt she was "never better" but Variety described her character's storyline as "a brief narrative digression in which Malick seems at least as interested in the horses on Jane's ranch as he is in the woman herself". The film received a limited US release, grossing $587,615. Brian De Palma's Passion, in which McAdams stars opposite Noomi Rapace, was also released in 2013. It is an erotic thriller about a power struggle between two business executives. Entertainment Weekly noted that McAdams "uses her sexy billboard smile and emphatic delivery to nail a certain type of troublemaker boss who embeds her aggression in pert 'sincerity.'" Variety asserted that "even in the absence of stellar material, the leads remain compulsively watchable." However, The New York Times found her unable to "settle on the right measure of meanness" while the Los Angeles Times remarked: "McAdams and Rapace are gesturally awkward and wildly miscast " more sorority sisters in a spat than cross-generational power antagonists."
McAdams' final film of 2013 was About Time, a romantic comedy written and directed by Richard Curtis. The film follows the romance of McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson; the story's time-travel element illustrates the importance of living in the moment. Zooey Deschanel was originally slated to play McAdams's role but dropped out shortly before filming began. Variety praised Gleeson and McAdams for their "radiant, believable chemistry" which "keeps the film aloft." The Telegraph remarked: "McAdams is a joy, matching Gleeson"s comic timing beat for beat." The Daily Mail noted that the "unfailingly cute" McAdams had starred in two other films involving time travel but conceded that, "Fortunately, she"s different enough here, in a role winningly influenced by Audrey Tautou"s Amélie, not to create a sense of déjà vu."
McAdams is involved with a number of upcoming projects. She has filmed an adaption of John le Carré's espionage thriller A Most Wanted Man, directed by Anton Corbijn and co"starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. A release date has yet to be set. In June 2013, McAdams was scheduled to begin voice work for an animated version of The Little Prince; other actors involved include Marion Cotillard, Jeff Bridges and James Franco. In August 2013, she filmed a role in Wim Wenders's Every Thing Will Be Fine. She plays James Franco's girlfriend, helping him deal with his guilt after he accidentally kills a child in a car accident. In September 2013, McAdams will film a supporting role in Cameron Crowe's Deep Tiki, opposite Emma Stone, her Wedding Crashers co-star Bradley Cooper and Alec Baldwin.
McAdams is an environmentalist. She ran an eco-friendly lifestyle website GreenIsSexy.org with two friends for five years, from 2007 to 2011. Her house is powered by Bullfrog renewable energy. She travels around Toronto by bicycle but drives when in Los Angeles because it is "a harder town to cycle in". She volunteered in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 2005, as part of the clean-up effort following Hurricane Katrina. McAdams sat on a TreeHugger/Live Earth judging panel in 2007. She appealed for donations during the Canada for Haiti telethon in 2010. She was involved in Matter of Trust's "hair boom" efforts following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In 2011, McAdams supported Foodstock, a protest against a proposed limestone mega quarry in Melancthon, Ontario. She is also a supporter of BluePlanetNetwork.org's clean drinking water initiative.
In 2006, McAdams took part in the "Day Without Immigrants" demonstration in Los Angeles, protesting against the federal government"s attempts to further criminalize undocumented aliens living in the United States. In 2011, she attended the Occupy Toronto demonstration. In 2013, McAdams volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in her hometown of St. Thomas. She has also worked with charities including the Sunshine Foundation of Canada, the Alzheimer's Association, the READ Campaign, and United Way of Canada.
McAdams lives in the Harbord Village neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She shares a house with her younger brother. McAdams also holds a U.S. green card but has remarked that, "The world has become so small these days, and most films aren"t shot in Hollywood any more, so there"s no point living there." She practices kundalini yoga daily. She likes to garden and cook in her spare time and has said that she would open a restaurant if she were not an actress.
McAdams had a two-year relationship with fellow Canadian actor Ryan Gosling from mid"2005 to mid"2007. They also briefly reunited in the summer of 2008. Following their split, Gosling described her as "one of the great loves of my life". She dated American actor Josh Lucas for a few months in 2009. McAdams dated Welsh actor Michael Sheen, whom she met on the set of Midnight in Paris, for two-and-a-half years from mid-2010 to early 2013.