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 season’s most acclaimed comedy. Now she switches gears to tackle the thriller genre, and she couldn’t have picked a more capable guide than legendary director Wes Craven. McAdams plays an ordinary woman thrust into extraordinary circumstances when she’s taken hostage by Cillian Murphy during a Dallas-Miami flight. It’s 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 she’s going to prevent the tragedy from occurring.
Canadian stopped by the Regent Beverly Wilshire last week to talk about her
experience making RED EYE, opening Friday.
This film features a strong female character that isn’t a superhero. Is that part of what attracted you to the role?
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.
It’s just a great arch to go through and to explore as an actor.
But I really wanted…the 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 didn’t want to do that ripping the shirt off, through the
airport sweaty and all of the sudden she’s carrying an uzi, and it’s 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.
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 weren’t rolling. He’s such a pleasant, funny guy, and quite easy-going. And so normal. He’s 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, he’s 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 other’s 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, he’s the master of suspense, which is why…even 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. He’s great – he’s such kind man, so even-tempered. He’s 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. It’s a little left of center and it works really well with this genre. He sort of reinvented it in that sense, where…I mean, he’ll hook on to things like this, and you just think, “What are we doing? What is happening here?” And then you see it and it’s so unique and he’s 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 don’t even know if he had any. He was so good at being shot at and head-butted and having a heel in his…he’s amazing. I mean, he’s so convincingly hurt. But, him as the actor, he’s all, “I’m fine. I’m fine.” He’d brush himself off. “Let’s do it again.” He’d do it all day and all night. I slammed my head off a door one day and I couldn’t keep it quiet. I mean, the thud just echoed through the set and everyone started laughing. Because they couldn’t see me. I rammed into this door. The cardboard was stuck to the floor. And I’d run through in like 18 times; we’d done so many takes.
in the last take the door doesn’t budge and I just launched my face off it.
And everyone came running around the corner kind of giggling, because
they’d just heard this “whump” and didn’t 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)
you still living in Canada?
still live at home. Not at home with
my parents. (Laughs)
No. But yeah, still back in
you opposed to living in Los Angeles?
I just prefer to live in a place that makes me really happy. It’s where my family and friends are. I can’t imagine not living there. And everyone can’t imagine not moving to L.A. if you’re in the business. But that seems unnatural to me. It has nothing to do with Los Angeles – I enjoy it so much here when I’m 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; it’s just not home.
did Red Eye, I shot a film called The Family Stone, which comes out around
Christmas time. But right now I’m
taking a break. What I failed to
recognize is that when you work for half the year, you promote for half the
So now I know.
all this travel and promotion, do you find it difficult to maintain a love life?
Well, it’s difficult to maintain any kind of personal relationships – whether it’s family, friends or what have you. That’s why, basically, when I have time off that’s 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. It’s tough being away from the people that you love, but at the same time it’s 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. It’s nice.
playing Ultimate Frisbee?
Oh my goodness; it’s so much fun. I can’t explain it – you’ve got to try it.