Rachel McAdams Interview

She was the breakout star in The Notebook, was one of the Mean Girls, fell in love with Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers. And now, Rachel McAdams will rule the sky in the thriller Red Eye.

This is a first for Rachel doing an action thriller, but she embraced it! Check out what else she said, including a funny side to Wes Craven:

So what are the challenges for working in a claustrophobic space?

Rachel McAdams: The biggest challenge is to amp yourself up; 12 hours out of the day, just to get to that level of intensity and fear is a little trying sometimes, but the confinement actually fed the fear. It drove it a little bit because I was stuck on this plane for such a long period of time so it kind of works. The cameras were so in your face and all these eyes are watching you and you've gotta get there. So it kinda helped to amp it up a bit.

Can you identify with this character? Would you find those kinds of strengths within you if you were faced with a similar situation?

Rachel McAdams: Well, I don't know how I would react in that situation. I would like to think I would rise to the occasion, but it's just interesting to me how powerful human beings can be when pushed to their limit and I really wanted to find that realistic, to find it realistically – that she could fight back, that she could take the skills she had learned just from being a hotel manager and turn them around and actually escape the situation.

What kind of flyer are you?

Rachel McAdams: Not as good as I used to be; in the past year or so I've just found the turbulence really gets to me. But when I first started flying I was like 22 so I thought it was really fun. I always sleep as we're taking off and then I'm wide awake as soon as we get in the air. But it's that whole runway part where I seem to just conk out – I don't know if my body is like ‘you can't handle this, you should just shut down for a minute.'

Wedding Crashers was this huge hit, how much does a big success like that affect your standing in Hollywood and your career or you don't notice stuff like that?

Rachel McAdams: I suppose there is a little bit of a numbers game played – or a lot of a numbers game played in Hollywood. Let's not pretend that it isn't a factor, so of course it helps I guess, but it's not something that you seek out. I didn't go into the movie hoping it would make a ton of money, but I did hope that it would hit an audience and people would really enjoy it.

It seems you've become a much bigger star really in the last couple of months. Does that kind of concern you or worry you or is there is any pressure?

Rachel McAdams: I don't know; I mean I'm trying to keep finding ways to step back and step outside of it a little bit, and going home is great for that. And I think if I can continue to do that I might be okay.

You've made a pretty seamless transition from Mean Girls to more adult type roles.

Rachel McAdams: I guess, Mean Girls was going back a little bit. I was 24 playing a 16-year-old, and I just thought that would be really fun, that would be a great challenge to see if I could go back a decade convincingly. So that was one of the big challenges and the draw for doing Mean Girls for me. The more recent projects feel a little bit more appropriate to where I'm at right now in my life and just keeping things diverse, an adult comedy, an adult thriller, that sort of thing.

You're definitely very different from one role to the next, almost unrecognisable. Can you tell me which character you think is the most like real-life Rachel?

Rachel McAdams: Oh, I don't know, I guess in every character I try to find something that exists within me and then just kind of put it under a microscope and blow it up and make it ten times bigger and explore that. Sometimes it's a small piece of me and sometimes it's much bigger and I can understand it more easily and connect to it a lot more quickly.

Do you fight for roles that you really want to do?

Rachel McAdams: Well, I actually love the audition process. So I'm so happy to fight for things. I would love to read something that I want to fight for. Lately it just hasn't; I don't know, the scripts are not that compelling.

What do people want you to be playing?

Rachel McAdams: It's like the girlfriend, the wife, daddy's little girl, you know, that sort of thing. I guess I'm looking for something else right now.

When you're reading a script like this, do you see certain scenes in your head before you play them and know how you want to play them?

Rachel McAdams: You go on your gut at first; Sometimes things just hit you and you don't know it and you don't know why. I remember reading the bathroom scene and thinking ‘if nothing else, this is a great scene that I have never seen before,' and just love to work that out in that space. Sometimes it's just little things pop out and your gut says ‘yes' and you go with it and then it develops from there.

Was that your real graduation photo in the beginning of the movie?

Rachel McAdams: I don't think so, I think I was actually 11 in that picture and they superimposed me into one of those library backgrounds. I was looking at it going, ‘I'm like 11 or 12 years old there.'

Do you play field hockey? Did you ever?

Rachel McAdams: I have never played field hockey. I hated field hockey. I didn't get it because I was a figure skater so anything with a stick just was anti-me.

Do you still skate?

Rachel McAdams: Just recreationally.

How was it working with Wes Craven, what kind of presence does he have on the set?

Rachel McAdams: He's very good natured, very quiet and has a wonderfully wicked sense of humor and you have to listen really closely to hear it. But he's so clever, so witty, and he brings that to his films, which I love, because they're so heavy and so dark sometimes, and then he throws in these twists of horror; it's just such a nice opposition.

Can you talk about working with Cillian and being in an action movie with him.

Rachel McAdams: He's an incredible, incredible actor and has such a great sense of humor. It was quite an intense piece for us on that plane for that amount of time and being at odds with one another. So when the camera was off, he was just so lovely, such a gentleman, and as soon as the camera was on he was convincingly terrifying to make my job easier; there's a real sense of danger in the air when he's acting and that's great to connect to. He's also an incredible physical actor so I learned so much. He's really great at getting shot and being wounded and falling on the floor and bullets ricocheting off his shoulders and he's just an incredible physical actor so I learned a lot about that. And I loved the action; I would love to do more, it was just so great to get off that plane. I just felt like I was being shot out of a cannon and I just was free to run and fight back.

Is there any actual heroine that you would like to play? I mean like a comic book character or a… or a larger than life character that you would like to get into.

Rachel McAdams: Ooh, I don't know; I'm so into graphic novels lately. I should look for one.

What kind of graphic novels?

Rachel McAdams: Well, some of them are quite romantic, like they make these really beautiful comic novels. Craig Thompson and I love Daniel Kraus, He's so dark and twisted.

You mentioned an interest in a Thundercats movie when we talked like a year ago.

Rachel McAdams: Ah, Thundercats was on this morning! There's a DVD box set out; I would love to play Cheetara…

Have you heard anything about an actual movie?

Rachel McAdams: I haven't – but let me know! (laughing)

How did you learn to run in heels?

Rachel McAdams: The first time I wore heels was in a Woody Allen play called Death when I was 12 or 13 and I got to wear my first pair of high heels. I would put my mirror on the floor and dance on top of it and just watch my feet move in high heels for hours. So I guess I just started practicing really early in life.

What part of the film would you say you could relate to the most, and what part of the film would you say is probably the most opposite or that you could relate to the least?

Rachel McAdams: I guess I could relate to Lisa's sense of professionalism; when I'm working I kind of distance myself from my personal life which is why it's great to leave home and go on location. So I kind of understand the idea that you think your life is complete when you thrust yourself into your work, and if you don't take a step back you can get really lost in it and things kind of go by the wayside. I guess her sense of mistrust in people – I don't feel that as much in my life.

So you're really trusting?

Rachel McAdams: I'm not quite as jaded, yeah. I like to take people at face value, and if it turns out otherwise then I can't really do anything about that but…

How close to sequence was this movie shot in – because it has the three very separate acts?

Rachel McAdams: Yeah, it was because we were on a stage most of the time it was pretty much bang, bang. We shot all the airplane stuff and went back and did a few pickups and the last few weeks we were in Miami shooting…

And how does that help your process to character build directly day to day?

Rachel McAdams: It's great! It really depends on the film. When Nick Cassavetes shot The Notebook, he had us do the second half first and the beginning last; it actually really worked out in terms of our relationship between Ryan [Gosling] and I because we didn't know each other at the beginning and seven years were supposed to have passed. It's kind of awkward and you don't know where each other are, and then by the time we got around to shooting the second half when we were supposed to know each other and be in love and this is our romance then we were far more comfortable so that works great. But in this situation, it was so important to track; her arc was so gradual, there were so many posts to hit along the way of her thinking of her development, of her moving from victim to fighting back. It was so helpful for me to get to go step by step and just build and build and build until the climax.

Red Eye flies into theaters August 19th, rated PG-13.