Published: February 27, 2012
Toronto-based star of The Vow talks about her Hollywood career – and the challenges of dating a British actor …
Canadian actress Rachel McAdams found fame eight years ago as the meanest of Mean Girls, playing teen queen bee Regina George. In fact, her role in the comedy film saw her described by one critic as “delightfully hateful”.
In real life, the 33-year-old star is a breath of fresh air; funny and self-depreciating, she has since clocked up an impressive list of Hollywood hits, including the comedy Wedding Crashers with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, the two Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law and romantic weepy The Notebook with Ryan Gosling, with whom she had a real-life romance.
Now dating British actor Michael Sheen – who has a 13-year-old daughter by his former partner Kate Beckinsale – Rachel’s latest movie is The Vow, a true-life story of a loving wife who falls into a coma and suffers severe memory loss.
The theme of your new movie is the seriousness of wedding vows. What are your thoughts on this topic?
I agree, they’re serious! A friend just got married to a guy she’d known for six years and had been living with for a long time. She was such a ball of nerves, she was shaking. She loves the guy and at first I was thinking: “Isn’t this part just the formality?” Then I realised there’s a big difference between whispering sweet nothings when it’s just the two of you and getting up and making the promise in front of all the people you love, who will be in your life the rest of you life. I think that to make a public vow is a really romantic and strong gesture.
What attracts you in a boyfriend?
First and foremost, a sense of humor. You can have passion, you can have interest in common, and all the other good things. But if it’s to be a long-term relationship, then you’re going to need something to get you through the trials and tribulations. The ability to laugh together and not to take everything too seriously is essential. It’s a way to connect that forgives a lot of other things, and it allows you to move on much more quickly if there’s a problem.
You me Michael Sheen on the set of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Pairs. What’s it like, dating a Brit?
Communication can be interesting because he comes out with all these wonderful British sayings, which in turn makes me come up with my own Canadian sayings. Sometimes I wonder if we’re even speaking the same language. Some days I even say to him: “Are you sure you’re speaking English?” And he will look at me and say: “Ahem, I think you’ll notice that we invented English…”
You both travel a lot. Is that a problem for you?
It can be a challenge, but the nature of our job is living like a gypsy, so we’re more or less used to it by now. It keeps life interesting and exciting and you get to see the world. But for me, I don’t like to do two jobs back to back. I like having time in between jobs to go home to Toronto and unwind and reconnect with family and friends. That’s very important to me.
What’s home like?
It’s a Victorian house, so it’s full of character. Which is a polite way of saying it’s fallen apart. No I’m joking. It’s from the 1890’s, I think, and it’s full of light because I love windows. I also love the combination of modern and vintage, so I have a lot of Victorian stuff and also a sort of Polynesian feel with some touches of Asian art. And natural and earthy furniture with cork floors. So it’s sort of schizophrenic, but I love it.
Are you still friends with your old boyfriends?
Yes, absolutely. There’s no one who’s ever been significantly in my life for whom I don’t have a sort of tenderness because they helped to shape who I am. However long some is in your life, they’re there to teach us something and I try to make the most of any relationship.
You’re 33 years old now. Do you ever think about marrying and having kids of your own?
Oh, yes. It’s something I’ve always wanted.
Any current plans?
Hmmm. That’s something that I’m not going to answer right now, because right now I don’t know what the answer is.