McAdams at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International promoting Doctor Strange
|Born||Rachel Anne McAdams
November 17, 1978
London, Ontario, Canada
|Residence||Harbord Village, Toronto, Ontario|
|Alma mater||York University|
Running through airports with pounds of luggage – that's a good workout.
I personally think you can have a really rich and full life with no abs. Abs are for wimps.
I was 12 when it really hit me. I did children's theatre camp during the summers and played a fairy in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' The next summer, I played Clytemnestra in 'Agamemnon' and I was like, 'OK, this is amazing.'
I want to pick good projects, I want to work with great directors and try not to put too much pressure on myself and just read things for the story and recognize when I'm drawn to something for the right reasons and try to maintain some sanity. Sanity would be good. I'd like to have a little sanity!
I had a small-town life – I worked at the local McDonald's for three years. I'm not sure why they kept me: I am something of a daydreamer and a dawdler, so they would only let me be the 'friendly voice' that greeted you when you entered the restaurant.
I want to work with great directors and try not to put too much pressure on myself and just read things for the story and recognize when I'm drawn to something for the right reasons and try to maintain some sanity.
I love auditioning. Since 'The Notebook' and 'Wedding Crashers,' I don't have to audition anymore, and I miss it. You get to show your interpretation of the character. I get nervous when I don't audition. What if they hate what I want to do?
I watched a lot of soap operas like 'General Hospital' and 'Days Of Our Lives.' When it came to movies, my parents were quite strict. They would watch 'Flash Dance' but wouldn't let us see the whole film because Jennifer Beals' character was a stripper. It was so funny when I finally saw the whole film. I thought she was a ballerina!
I think there's something really powerful and refreshing about a woman who is unapologetic.
I love the exploration of someone who has such a different background from you. That exploration runs to compassion and to cracking yourself open and creating more understanding of how weird and amazing life is.
During a movie, chemistry is so important, and yet they just assume actors can fake their way through it. That doesn't always work.
I think love is the through line and it's universal and it doesn't matter what period of time, time or place, or people, that's something we all connect to. That's the thin thread that I think keeps it altogether.
You have to turn the noise off a little bit. Fortunately, I'm not really on social media. I've been able to live in a bit of a black hole.
My parents opened a bank account for me when I was really little, and I think I paid for some of my university education with my savings. I've always been a bit of a saver.
I'm a hopeless romantic and I believe that you can find love in many different places and be very conflicted. I've discovered as I've grown up that life is far more complicated than you think it is when you're a kid. It isn't just a straightforward fairytale.
What I love about film is that everybody often connects to something so different, and things you couldn't anticipate when you were making the film, so you just make it as honest as possible.
I've actually never played a time traveler, for all the time travelling movies I've done.
I've had heartbreaking auditions where they don't even look at you. You're out before you're in.
I can be quite surprised by what makes me cry, but it's usually spiritual things.
I sort of always had an inkling towards some kind of an art form. I grew up in a very small town, and I just figure-skated. My dad played hockey and I was surrounded by sports, but it wasn't quite doing it for me. I wasn't totally fulfilled, and I did a lot of skating.
I love those preliminary conversations about who a character is. You try on wigs, shoes, and clothes. It's preferable when it's not about looking pretty. It can get a little dull to just be cute.
I definitely believe that you are drawn to certain things for inexplicable reasons, but in a very powerful way. I don't know what it is exactly, but I know that things happen kind of miraculously sometimes, and so I'm willing to believe that there's something pretty magical out there.
A kiss with anyone, on or off camera, can be intimidating. I've been kissing for nearly two decades now, and I'm always convinced I'm not doing it right. Chemistry is so important in a great kiss. You can act your way through anything, but it's hard with a kiss.
I think one thing that kids who grow up on farms really have going for them is they have exposure to death and birth in a totally different way. I think it takes away a little bit of the mystery and a little bit of the fear, and I do wish I had that. And I wish I was able to grow my own food.
It's a compulsion. I'm always changing parts of me. Even when I was young, I wanted to change my hair color. I was so determined that I dyed my hair with Kool-Aid.
The craziest thing I've ever done to get a guy's attention? I admit I stalked someone. I showed up at a restaurant where I knew the guy worked, and we were actually good friends and had lost touch, and I pretended that I didn't know he worked there.
I definitely was in the sequined, bedazzled era. We would put blue eye shadow up our eyebrows and glitter all over our faces. I probably put more effort into my skating outfits than my clothes.
I use filming as an excuse to take classes. I got my certification in sailing for 'Wedding Crashers,' and now I can handle a 26-foot boat. I played a seamstress once, so I took sewing classes. I love dipping into these other lives.
Joan Cusack is one of my favorite comedic actresses, and every part she plays is so different. She does the wackiest stuff and somehow it works. I like watching her a lot, and I think you can always go further and pull back. That's something I really have to work on.
I've really gotten to play a lot of different things, starting with 'Southpaw.' For 'Spotlight,' I got to play this amazing journalist, Sacha Pfeiffer, who worked at the 'Boston Globe' when they broke the story about the sex scandal in the Catholic Church.
I drink maple syrup. Then I'm hyper so I just run around like crazy and work it all off.
A friend of mine had this great theory about the Teletubbies, that it's preparing us for being mindless. And getting us ready for living in an underground world. That's why the scenery is so flat.
I've discovered as I've grown up that life is far more complicated than you think it is when you're a kid. It isn't just a straightforward fairytale.
You know, I have some issues. But I just love to play different characters all the time, and I try not to repeat myself too much.
I don't really want to repeat myself. For the most part, I always want to be doing something new. But there aren't a lot of gritty roles out there for women, and they are so fun to play, everyone wants them.
I really like having a life outside work. I sometimes wish I did more career stuff and was in that Hollywood scene a bit more. But Toronto's my home.
My mother's parents died when I was quite young, so I would like to be able to go back and know those people as an adult.
I've sort of heard that 'it' girl thing, but not really. Hearing it from a few people doesn't solidify it in my mind and I wouldn't know how to solidify that title. It's so elusive and what does it mean, I don't know?
You have to be really open to your acting partners and believe in the story.
It's always disappointing when your work is not received as you hope it would be.
With any project I work on – not just 'True Detective' – I don't feel the need just to play a strong woman. I don't want the audience to say, 'Oh, she was so strong.' I want to play characters that are flawed and interesting.
I feel like I'm going backwards, actually, as I get older. I'm regressing. I feel more and more like a kid, which is kind of a fun feeling.
When you're playing music through the streets of London at 2 o'clock in the morning, there's something so cool and magical about that. It takes you to a special place very quickly.
You know I never used to be a bad flyer, but I did start to have a fear of flying after I shot a movie where I was terrorized on a plane. I made Wes Craven's 'Red Eye'. I don't think they're linked but it does make me pause and wonder if they are, so perhaps I will explore that in therapy some day.
At nine years old, I was presented an opportunity to move to Toronto to train for pairs dancing. As soon as I heard that that's what it entailed, I was out of there. It's like a past life. I hung up my skates and never looked back.
I love those preliminary conversations about who a character is. You try on wigs, shoes and clothes. It's preferable when it's not about looking pretty. It can get a little dull to just be cute. We talk about things like, maybe my character can't afford these Christian Louboutins.
You want people to buy you as just about anything. So if they think that you're one thing, it's hard to slip into, you know, all these other things.
I'm waiting for them to make 'Thundercats'. I would love to be Cheetara.
I didn't get my first pilot that I screen-tested for, and I really thought it was the end of the world. But it's fine, you know, you move on to something else.
It's the messiness of life that ultimately leads you to the most interesting things. Everyone asks what you would do over, and I don't know because then you have this story to tell, and if you did everything over and made it perfect, what would you talk about?
I'm very silly as a person, but quality silliness on-screen has more of an art to it. Harrison Ford, whom I was in 'Morning Glory' with, has mastered that dry funny better than anyone.
I try to shut out ideas about why you should do things. Trying to do good architecture and really designing a career? There's some attention to be paid to that, but I don't think it's everything.
I do have a side of me that would just love to be stuck in the woods and have to stick it out and be really resourceful.
I love stories with love in them. I just prefer those films. Every so often, I come across a film where there's no love story. It doesn't have to be romantic, but there's a lack of love, and I don't get that.
I prefer to be a villainess. There's something a bit more delicious about their wickedness.
What bothers me is our culture's obsession with nudity. It shouldn't be a big deal, but it is. I think this overemphasis with nudity makes actors nervous. There's the worry about seeing one's body dissected, misrepresented, played and replayed on the Internet.
I did do some Shakespeare on film, it's really difficult. It's really interesting, because I was doing a series in Canada called 'Slings and Arrows' and it was about a company based around the Stratford Festival.
I find British men very gentlemanly… like opening doors. There is a certain chivalry about British men which I like, and I'm a sucker for an accent.
It's often out of my own insecurity. If I'm picky, it's for that reason. I want to be able to bring my best to the table. So if I'm not connecting to something, then I'm not gonna hold up my end of the bargain, and that's really embarrassing.
I confess I am a romantic. I love romance, and I think it's really fun and delicious and some of my favorite films are love stories. I think that you just get a chance to fall in love with the characters so much and you get to explore their lives so deeply.
I think a lot of people are with the one they're meant to be with. I see it watching my parents because they've been together for so long and are still very much in love. I'm just sort of in awe of that.
I had a lovely childhood. For family holidays, we went as far as the car could take us – we would drive to Florida, even though it would take three days. I didn't know we didn't have a lot of money because there was always food on the table. I didn't have a lot of stuff, but I did figure skating for a long time, and I always had my skates.
I don't know, I like to go on really different types of dates. Going someplace new or some new part of the city, something that's not your average thing. Something where you just go have an adventure together.
Sure, I got lost, which is an actor's worst nightmare. But it is a gift as well, because great things come out of being lost and unsure, especially if you have a controlling side or a perfectionist side, which plenty of us do.
I grew up in a very small town and didn't realise till later that I had an adventurous side. When I went to theatre school at 18, I came into my own and let loose.
If I hurt someone, if I were to accidentally poke someone's eye out, I would laugh. And then I'd say, 'I'm sorry, I really do feel bad,' but then I'm on the floor rolling.
I don't really desire things. I prefer to spend my money on experiences, on meals or travel.
The physical part of comedy is as hard as a lot of action movies. It scares me, but in a way that I like.
I was just finishing up 'Spotlight' in Toronto – I finished it on a Tuesday and started 'True Detective' on a Friday. So I was missing rehearsals, unfortunately, which I hate and why I never like to work back-to-back.
My mother never put an emphasis on looks. She let us grow up on our own time line. She never forced any beauty regimen into my world.
I look at the world through a green lens now, but you can't make yourself crazy. That feeling of green guilt can be really inhibiting. It's about a changing mind-set, remembering to turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth.
With a film, you just don't have time to build sympathy for the character. But I think we're moving away from that in TV. With TV, you have a little more leeway to allow them to rise and fall and rise again and be much more complicated beings.
I'd grown up doing children's theater there, and I always imagined myself being artistic director of a children's theater company.
I'm from a very close-knit family, and there was something very… I guess you could say normal, about it, and I so appreciate that. We all ate dinner together every single night, and my mom stayed at home with us. I owe a lot to my parents.