Rachel McAdams Classes Up ‘Crashers’

     July 14, 2005

Posted by Mr. Beaks

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Hailing from, as she affectionately refers to it, “The Nosebleeds” of North America (i.e. Canada), Rachel McAdams can get away with the whole “Movie star?; Me?” act for now, but another performance or two like the one she gives in Wedding Crashers, and that whole charade is going to get awfully old very quickly.; As I noted in my review, it’s McAdams who grounds this otherwise exceedingly wacky film with her graceful and ingratiating portrayal of Claire Cleary.;

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So, here’s the one final pre-movie star roundtable interview from Rachel McAdams.; Savor it.; It’s nothing but press conferences and Barbara Walters from here on out.

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The director said that you were the last person to audition for this part.

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I think that happens a lot.

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Really?

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Yeah, I’m kind of at the bottom of the barrel.; (Laughs.); You’re really scraping it.

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Has that really happened a lot?

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Yeah, that happened on THE NOTEBOOK, too.

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When you went in for the audition, did you think you’d got it?

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I really had no idea.; It went really well, but that’s happened before, and then you hear nothing.; So, you can’t really judge by being in the room.; I felt good, and I felt like we had a great rapport, him and I, and he directed me, which is always nice.; It was fun!; It felt easy, and I hoped it would work.

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Would you have been interested in playing the Gloria character?

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Yes!; They’d never cast me in that kind of thing, but, oh, for sure.; I love playing outlandish characters; I love playing villains.; They’re so much fun.

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Did you change your hair after Mean Girls?

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Actually that wasn’t my hair.; Well, some of it was, just the front, but I actually had black hair and then these blonde bangs.; And everyday I’d put on this blonde wig for Mean Girls.; I could never grow my hair like that; she had a head of hair.

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What was it like having Christopher Walken and Jane Seymour play your parents?

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It was… interesting.; What a pairing.; And I never imagined I’d be calling Christopher Walken “Dad”.; That came out of left field.; You know, it’s funny, I’ve been very fortunate.; It’s always been table scenes where you kind of pinch yourself, because everyone comes together.; That happened on The Notebook; you know, “Joan Allen is sitting here.”; And then in The Wedding Crashers, Chris Walken, Jane Seymour, and Owen is across from me.; And I just finished a film where we did a big dinner scene, and Diane Keaton and Sarah Jessica Parker… those are the really overwhelming and amazing moments for me, where I just sit back and go, “I’m so blessed to have been invited to this table.”;

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On the movie you just finished with Diane Keaton [The Family Stone], you also worked with Owen’s brother [Luke].

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Yeah!; Although playing my brother.; No love interest there.

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Could you talk about the differences in working with Luke and Owen?

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They’re very similar.; They’re really sharp guys, but don’t flaunt it at all.; Luke was just as good; he’s really good at improve as well.; They’re charismatic, and they have that Texas charm.; They’re similar in a lot of ways.;

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Working with Owen, did you have any idea what it would be like?

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I didn’t really know what to expect.; I tried to go into it with an open mind, and just take it as it comes.; I knew it might get a little crazy, which it did (laughs), but you just kind of roll with it.; That’s what you have to do when people are improv-ing; you have to be open to the curveballs that are going to come your way.; Sometimes you deflect, sometimes you take it in, and what’s great is that it always keeps you genuine.; It’s always fresh and new, and it’s not too rehearsed, which is a totally different way of working.

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Had you worked like that before?

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Not to this degree (laughs).; No.

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Would you like to continue working like that?; Doing more comedy?

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Yeah.; Definitely.; I learned so much.

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Was it inspiring to work with Jane Seymour or Chris [Walken]?

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Oh, yeah.; These are people I’ve been watching my whole life from a great distance in the nosebleeds of Canada.; So, to be in the same room with them, you have to step up to the plate, and I didn’t know if I could.; Especially, my first scene with Chris was the dancing scene, and I know he’s a fabulous dancer.

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He dances, right?

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He dances.; He’s smooth.; So, I’m polkaing my face off before that day.; But that’s the great thing you generally discover about these veteran actors:; there’s a reason why they are so formidable, and they take you with them most of the time; they’re very generous people.; Diane Keaton was the same way:; so generous, so present.; That’s what’s great!; She’s so present.

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Have you ever been a bridesmaid?

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Never a bridesmaid.

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Have you ever been a guest at a wedding where the vows are as cheesy as in the movie?

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I usually kind of tune them out.; (The room laughs.); I know that’s so awful.; It’s like being in church, though.;

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What’s you belief in weddings and marriage?

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I’d like to have a barbeque.; I want to save the money for the funeral.; (Huge laughter from the room as McAdams’s jaw drops upon realizing her slip.); For the honeymoon.; I’m never going to get married now.; (Laughs.); Yeah.

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Could you tell us a bit about Isla as well?

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Oh, Isla’s awesome.; We all got along really well, which is nice.; It’s an ideal situation, especially if you’re shooting on location.; I admire her so much.; She’s so brave, and has great comedic timing, and really held her own with Vince.; I loved watching her work.; She’s incredible.; I wish she’d work more, but she likes to take time off.

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Could you talk a little bit about how quickly your career has taken off?; We’ve heard directors talk you – like in THE NOTEBOOK and here – about how you’re so perfect for a part.; You’re so elegant and complex and simple at the same time.; How do you feel?; You’ve really made a mark in such a short period of time.

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That’s the best part of the attention:; they will in turn let you do more of what you want to do.; That’s been the best part of getting to experiment, and, hopefully, get to succeed or fail, and still get to get up on your feet and do it again.; That’s the most exciting part for me right now.; And the other stuff is really nice, too:; the compliments and to work with such incredible people so early on.; I’m so lucky.

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Do you find yourself getting recognized on the street now?

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Yeah.; I still live in Canada, so it’s not quite the same.; And when I’m in L.A., I’m in a car; you don’t have the contact with the public.; It’s not so bad.; It’s still pretty much the same.; I still feel pretty normal-ish.

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So you only work here in L.A., and, then, when you’re done you go back to Canada?

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Yeah.; It seems that so much is being shot here now, that the business has really come back around to Hollywood.; I just missed the Toronto boat – so much was shooting in Toronto, but it’s really dried up now.; So, yeah, I just come in here to work and then go home for—

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Taxes.

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I pay taxes in both places.; They get you on both sides.

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Do you feel, though, that the luxury of getting to live in Canada is about to change?; If things really take off, as it appears primed to do, and you hit that next level, how will deal with it?

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I kind of look at it the opposite way.; It was hard at first to, you know, “You need to be here auditioning!”; When you’re trying really hard to find work.; But now it’s a little bit easier.; The jobs are… it’s a different landscape.; Hopefully, I can stay up there.; It’s been three years, living up there and working out here.; I’m kind of just trying to keep doing that.; I might drive myself insane.; It is hard to not have a place here.

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Are the offers getting to be more now?

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Yeah.; It’s certainly a different story than it was a year ago.

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What kind of roles would you like to do?

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I want to try a lot of things that I haven’t tried.; You know, I did a thriller [RED EYE] after this, because it was so different and it was a genre I hadn’t worked in yet.; Then I did a beautiful family ensemble drama.; And next?; I don’t know.; I might go off to do a small independent in New York.; I’m not sure.; The quality of material is important, but, basically, I’m open to anything.; I like to stay open to anything.

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The thriller, is it a slasher movie?

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It is a Wes Craven film, but it’s a bit of a departure for him because there’s no demons and nothing supernatural and not a lot of gore.; It’s more psychological.

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It takes place on a plane, right?

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It takes place on a plane.; For a long time.; (Laughs.)

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Was it difficult to keep a straight face with Owen Wilson?; It seems like he’d just crack you up.

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So difficult.; Oh, man, it was rough.; (Laughs.); No, he was great.; You know, our stuff was a little bit more serious.; But, yeah, that kiss in the church – he’s got this whole monologue where he just goes off.; I haven’t seen the film, so I don’t quite know what it wound up being, but it was hard because I had to be the girl who was like, “No, come on, we’re talking about love, and let’s be serious here!”; I was always the heavy; I felt so bad, like “Here comes the ball and chain.”; But, yeah, it’s hard to keep a straight face with those guys.; They can make anything funny.; That’s their job.

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Did you spend a lot of time hanging out with them off the set?; Particularly on location?

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Vince did this great thing where we were all staying on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, and he rented a Seadoo.; It was just like a taxi service.; He’d come and pick us up on the Seadoo across the bay, then we’d go over to his side and have a barbeque, and then he’d bring us back and drop us off.; The best image of my entire life is seeing Chris Walken on the back of a Seadoo.; (Laughter.); It was awesome.

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He just went back-and-forth, back-and-forth getting you all?

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Yeah.; Him and his assistant, they’d come up, and we’d come out of our little hotel with our backpacks on and our towels and out pants rolled up.; We’d hop on the Seadoo, and off we’d go.; It was great!

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Why was he staying in a different place from you guys?

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We were all sort of all over the place.; Some people would be at the hotel, but there was this huge wedding at the hotel, so it was booked up.; We were scattered all over the place.

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A real wedding?

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Mm-hm.; A real wedding.

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Nobody decided to crash that?

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We talked about it:; “It would be great research; they couldn’t blame us for trying.”; (Laughs.);; But we ultimately decided to behave because we still had to shoot the rest of the film.

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Did you and Owen get along right off the bat?

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Yeah.; I mean, he’s such an easy going guy.; He’s very honest; he is who he is.; We just started to collaborate right away, and a lot of communication about the scenes.; It was like hanging out on the beach, and going bike riding, and hanging out on a yacht.; It wasn’t that hard.

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What I like about those scenes with the two of you is that the movie gives those scenes enough time to be like a classic romantic comedy, where you two banter back and forth.

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Yeah, it was nice.; Sometimes with these movies, it’s just about the punch line, and it can become overwhelming.; It’s almost like you miss something because it’s all about the punch line.; So, it was nice to have some air to play in, and give the movie some heart.; I think it has a lot of heart.

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Are there any actors that you’d like to work with?

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Many.; Where do I even begin?; Daniel Day-Lewis.; I think that would be such an experience.

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