Rachel Anne McAdams (born November 17, 1978) is a Canadian actress. After graduating from a theatre program at York University, Toronto in 2001, she worked steadily as an actress until finding fame in 2004 with starring roles in Mean Girls and The Notebook. In 2005, she appeared in Wedding Crashers, Red Eye and The Family Stone and was routinely hailed by the media as "the next Julia Roberts". However, she withdrew from public life in 2006 and 2007 to focus on herself and her family. During this time, she turned down leading roles in, amongst others, The Devil Wears Prada and Casino Royale. She made a low-key return to work in 2008, starring in two little-seen independent films, Married Life and The Lucky Ones. She returned to prominence in 2009 with appearances in State of Play, Time Traveler's Wife, TheThe Time Traveler's Wife and Sherlock Holmes. 2010's Morning Glory, with Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton, was billed as her first star vehicle. Woody Allen wrote a part specifically for the actress in 2011's Midnight in Paris. She will appear in two movies in 2012: romantic drama The Vow with Channing Tatum and an as-yet-untitled Terence Malick film with Ben Affleck, Rachel Weisz and Javier Bardem. She will also make a cameo appearance in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, set for release on December 16, 2011.
McAdams was born in London, Ontario and grew up in nearby St. Thomas. Her mother, Sandra (née Gale), is a nurse and her father, Lance, is a retired truck driver and furniture mover. She has two younger siblings: Kayleen, a celebrity make-up artist, and Daniel. She attended Myrtle Street Public School and, later, Central Elgin Collegiate Institute. She worked at a McDonalds restaurant during the summer holidays for three years. She began figure skating at the age of four and competed in the sport until the age of eighteen, winning regional awards. Feeling she lacked the complete discipline that was required, McAdams gave up the sport when entering university. She appeared in Original Kids Theatre Company, London productions from the age of 12, most notably winning a performance award at the Sears Ontario Drama Festival. She intended to take cultural studies at university before being persuaded by her drama teacher that a professional acting career was a viable option. She enrolled at Toronto's York University as a drama student and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts honours degree in 2001. While at university, she worked with the Toronto-based Necessary Angels Theatre Company. McAdams' first on-screen appearance was in 2001's My Name is Tanino. She earned a Genie Award nomination in her native Canada in 2002 for her role as a teenage Wendy Crewson in Perfect Pie. Her first Hollywood movie was 2002's The Hot Chick, in which she played a catty high school student who swaps bodies with a small-time criminal. She later described the film as a "huge milestone" in her career. She then returned to Canada to play a recurring part in the dramedy cable series Slings and Arrows.
She starred in three films in 2005. In the smash-hit comedy, Wedding Crashers, she played Claire Cleary, the daughter of an influential politician and Owen Wilson's love interest. The New York Times' chief film critic, Manohla Dargis, felt McAdams "makes the most of her underdeveloped character" and "grows more appealing with every new role". She next appeared opposite Cillian Murphy in Red Eye, a Wes Craven thriller following a young woman held captive aboard a red-eye flight. The film was a box-office hit and won solid reviews. Variety found her "increasingly impressive" while Roger Ebert asserted that "she brings more presence and credibility to her role than is really expected; she acts without betraying the slightest awareness that she’s inside a genre. Her performance qualifies her for heavy-duty roles." Her final film of 2005 was family drama The Family Stone, an all-star ensemble with Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson and Claire Danes. The film found a sizable audience and garnered generally positive reviews. The New York Times felt that "Ms. McAdams' engaging screen presence holds your attention and sympathy despite the handicap presented by her character's personality" while Variety noted that "a deglammed but still radiant McAdams proves once again that she's the real deal, delivering a deliciously feisty performance".
She returned to work in 2008, with two low-key releases. Married Life, a film noir with Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper and Patricia Clarkson, was a box-office flop but critics welcomed McAdams' return to the silver screen. Entertainment Weekly found her "a particularly delightful vision after her two-year intermission". Variety's critic felt that, while McAdams had been "regrettably absent from the big screen since The Family Stone nearly two years ago" and here "endows her readings with tender feeling", "her natural vivaciousness and spontaneity are straightjacketed by the format". Her second film of 2008, The Lucky Ones, a story about three Iraq War soldiers on a brief road trip back in the U.S., was another box-office flop and received uncomplimentary reviews. McAdams' performance, however, was praised. The New York Times found her "luminous as always", Variety found her "as captivating as ever" while Roger Ebert hailed the performance as "her coming of age as an actress". "Previously she has been seen mostly as a hot chick or an idealized sweetheart", he wrote. "Here she is feisty, vulnerable, plucky, warm, funny. She provides yet another lesson that you can't judge acting ability until you see an actor given a chance to really stretch. Watch the poignance of the scene when she meets her boyfriend's family."
She starred in three films in 2009. The first was well-reviewed political thriller State of Play with Ben Affleck, Helen Mirren and Russell Crowe. Entertainment Weekly felt she was "perfectly cast as an ambitious wonkette" while The New York Times noted that "there is some fun to be had in watching [Crowe and McAdams] lock horns..and engage in fine snappy banter." Her second 2009 project was The Time Traveler's Wife, an adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger's bestselling novel. It was a financial success but the critical response was muted. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, "I'd watch the vibrant Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana in anything, but The Time Traveler's Wife is pushing it." The Los Angeles Times found her "luminous [yet], sadly, her facility as an actress is mostly wasted." Writing in The Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips, in an otherwise tepid review, said of her performance: “Every scene she’s in, even the silly ones, becomes better — truer, often against long odds — because she’s in it. Her work feels emotionally spontaneous yet technically precise. She has an unusually easy touch with both comedy and drama, and she never holds a melodramatic moment hostage.”
McAdams' first film of 2011, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, opened the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and saw her reunite with Wedding Crashers' Owen Wilson. Allen wrote the part of Inez for her on the recommendation of her former co-star Diane Keaton. It has become Allen's top grossing picture ever in North America and was lauded by critics. However, there were mixed reactions to McAdams' shrewish character. The Guardian bemoaned that she "has morphed from the sweet thing in Wedding Crashers to the dream-crushing bitch that, according to American comedies, women become once they ensnare their man". Richard Corliss of TIME was equally disappointed: "Allen pours an immense amount of odium on Inez.. I felt sorry for McAdams, whose usually winning presence is ground into hostile chiché." However, the Los Angeles Times felt she "deftly handles a part that is less amiable than usual for her" and the New York Times found her "superbly speeded-up".She will star in two films in 2012. The Vow, a romantic drama with Channing Tatum, is due out Valentine's Day 2012. Based on the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, it focuses on a newlywed couple's struggle following a car accident that leaves the wife with severe memory loss. The tentatively titled The Burial, a Terrence Malick ensemble piece, has been picked up by a distributor and there is unconfirmed speculation that it will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. It is understood that she plays the lover of Ben Affleck in a romantic drama which also features Javier Bardem and Rachel Weisz.
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