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INT: Rachel McAdams

Aug. 19, 2005by: Thomas Leupp

This week, hot and wholesome Rachel McAdams looks to continue her successful summer with RED EYE. In July she struck gold with WEDDING CRASHERS, by far the seasons most acclaimed comedy. Now she switches gears to tackle the thriller genre, and she couldnt have picked a more capable guide than legendary director Wes Craven. McAdams plays an ordinary woman thrust into extraordinary circumstances when shes taken hostage by Cillian Murphy during a Dallas-Miami flight. Its all part of an elaborate plot to assassinate the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, and McAdams will have to call on all of her Empowered Woman skills if shes going to prevent the tragedy from occurring.

The proud Canadian stopped by the Regent Beverly Wilshire last week to talk about her experience making RED EYE, opening Friday.

Rachel McAdams

This film features a strong female character that isnt a superhero. Is that part of what attracted you to the role?

It did, definitely. I loved her arch. I loved what she went through and how she found her steel again in the end. You sense that she had it at one point in her life and lost sight of things and that she regains it. Its just a great arch to go through and to explore as an actor. But I really wantedthe challenge was to not become that Zena/Buffy superhero type, to keep it based in some kind of reality where she used all that she had to get out of the situation, and that her troubleshooting skills as a hotel manager applied in these dire circumstances. I just didnt want to do that ripping the shirt off, through the airport sweaty and all of the sudden shes carrying an uzi, and its like, What happened to this girl? So I kind of wanted her to still be true to herself. And when push comes to shove she just dug down deep and found the strength that was always there, waiting to be unleashed.

What was it like working with Cillian Murphy? How were you able to establish that chemistry and tension?

Well, it always helps when you work with a great actor. And a great physical actor, too. He really brought a sense of danger to the scenes when we were on the plane. As much as we had a lot of fun when we worked, when the cameras werent rolling. Hes such a pleasant, funny guy, and quite easy-going. And so normal. Hes such a normal person. It was lovely. But he really brought a sense of danger and urgency and raised the stakes when we were shooting. And like I said, hes a great physical actor too, so the fight scenes it was like choreographing a dance. And we both worked very well together in that way, talking things out and being very specific. We just got so used to being in each others face and not feeling weird about it, we could work out the steps. But when Wes called action, it was on. We played hardball.

What about working with Wes Craven? Did you have any preconceived notions based on his background as a horror director?

Yeah, hes the master of suspense, which is whyeven though this was a little bit of a departure for him. Not really in terms of needing to build that thrill ride, keep people on the edge of their seats. Hes great hes such kind man, so even-tempered. Hes so the opposite of what you would assume the man who makes these movies would be like, but he does have a real sense of humor. Its a little left of center and it works really well with this genre. He sort of reinvented it in that sense, whereI mean, hell hook on to things like this, and you just think, What are we doing? What is happening here? And then you see it and its so unique and hes so brave; he really pushes the envelope and it works.

You had some pretty intense action scenes. Were there any injuries?

(Laughs) A few. Cillian was really quiet about his injuries. I dont even know if he had any. He was so good at being shot at and head-butted and having a heel in hishes amazing. I mean, hes so convincingly hurt. But, him as the actor, hes all, Im fine. Im fine. Hed brush himself off. Lets do it again. Hed do it all day and all night. I slammed my head off a door one day and I couldnt keep it quiet. I mean, the thud just echoed through the set and everyone started laughing. Because they couldnt see me. I rammed into this door. The cardboard was stuck to the floor. And Id run through in like 18 times; wed done so many takes.

Of course in the last take the door doesnt budge and I just launched my face off it. And everyone came running around the corner kind of giggling, because theyd just heard this whump and didnt see me. They were like, What happened to her? And I was on the floor. I had like a huge goose egg. I have a dent in my eyebrow my Red Eye souvenir. (Laughs) But it was great because we were in the house at this point and we so we just sort of added it to the look. Like ok, so now she has a big bruise on the side of her face and a split lip. It actually worked out pretty well. (Laughs)

Are you still living in Canada?

Yeah, still live at home. Not at home with my parents. (Laughs) No. But yeah, still back in Canada.

Are you opposed to living in Los Angeles?

I just prefer to live in a place that makes me really happy. Its where my family and friends are. I cant imagine not living there. And everyone cant imagine not moving to L.A. if youre in the business. But that seems unnatural to me. It has nothing to do with Los Angeles I enjoy it so much here when Im working. It makes a lot of sense to work here. I loved working on the stage for Red Eye. Los Angeles is such a beautiful place; its just not home.

Whats next?

After I did Red Eye, I shot a film called The Family Stone, which comes out around Christmas time. But right now Im taking a break. What I failed to recognize is that when you work for half the year, you promote for half the year. (Laughs) So now I know.

With all this travel and promotion, do you find it difficult to maintain a love life?

Well, its difficult to maintain any kind of personal relationships whether its family, friends or what have you. Thats why, basically, when I have time off thats what you go back to. You go back to reconnect with the people who are important to you and they give you so much perspective. Its tough being away from the people that you love, but at the same time its so rewarding to go home, to have gone through that experience, to really put yourself into it 100%, and then you get to go home and be with the people you love. Its nice.

Still playing Ultimate Frisbee?

Oh my goodness; its so much fun. I cant explain it youve got to try it.



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