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Rachel McAdams (1978)

Rachel Anne McAdams

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Rachel Anne McAdams 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 the teen comedy Mean Girls and the romantic drama The Notebook. In 2005, she appeared in the romantic comedy Wedding Crashers, the thriller Red Eye and the family drama The Family Stone and was hailed by the media as "the next Julia Roberts".

However, McAdams withdrew from public life in 2006 and 2007. 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 the political thriller State of Play, the sci-fi romance and the action-adventure film Sherlock Holmes.

McAdams's first star vehicle was the 2010 comedy Morning Glory. In 2011, she starred in Woody Allen's romantic comedy Midnight in Paris and made a cameo appearance in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. She will appear in two movies in 2012: the romantic drama The Vow and an as-yet-untitled Terrence Malick film.


 early life
Rachel Anne 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. McAdams has two younger siblings: Kayleen, a celebrity make-up artist, and Daniel. She was educated at Myrtle Street Public School and, later, Central Elgin Collegiate Institute. She did not enjoy school and, to avoid attending, she often pretended to be sick. Nonetheless, she played an active role in student life. In addition to playing sports, McAdams served on the student council, participated in the Crimestoppers program and was a member of the Peer Helping Team. She worked at a McDonalds restaurant during the summer holidays for three years.

McAdams began figure skating at the age of four but turned down an opportunity to move to Toronto at the age of nine for pairs training. Skating then became merely "a hobby". She competed in the sport until the age of 18, winning regional awards. She has said that skating prepared her for physical acting, because it trained her to be "in tune" with her body.

McAdams first developed an interesting in performing when she was seven-years-old and, while her parents didn't discourage her, they didn't "go out and find me an agent". She attended both Disney and Shakespeare summer camps as a child. From the age of 12, McAdams appeared in Original Kids Theater Company, London productions, most notably winning a performance award at the Sears Ontario Drama Festival. In her late teens, she directed children's theater productions. McAdams 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 in York University, Toronto's four-year theater program and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts honours degree in 2001. While at university, McAdams worked with the Toronto-based Necessary Angels Theater Company.

 Breakthrough roles
McAdams made her first onscreen appearance in Shotgun Love Dolls, a 2001 pilot filmed during a spring break from York University. McAdams also made her first feature film appearance that year in My Name is Tanino. The Italian-Canadian co-production was filmed in Sicily and it marked the 22-year-old actress's first time on an airplane. McAdams later earned a Genie Award nomination in her native Canada for her role as a teenage Wendy Crewson in Perfect Pie. Her first Hollywood movie was 2002's The Hot Chick which McAdams has described as a "huge milestone" in her career. She played a catty high school student who swaps bodies with a small-time criminal. The Los Angeles Times felt she "emerges as a young actress of much promise" while the Daily Mail described McAdams and Anna Faris as "talents to watch, but they are let down by everything around them". McAdams then returned to Canada to star in Slings and Arrows, a mini-series about backstage theater life. She was written out of the second season of the program following her success in the United States.

McAdams' breakout role came in the 2004 teen comedy Mean Girls. The 25 year-old was cast as Regina George, a malicious teenage queen bee, and she looked to Alec Baldwin's performance in Glengarry Glen Ross for character inspiration. USA Today praised her "comic flair" while The Daily Telegraph found her "delightfully hateful". The San Francisco Chronicle felt that "McAdams brings glamour and magnetism to Regina, but also the right hint of comic distance. The film topped the US box office and earned McAdams two MTV Movie Awards. Mean Girls later reached number 12 in an Entertainment Weekly list of the Greatest Ever High School Movies. Tina Fey, who wrote the script and co-starred in the film, has credited McAdams with teaching her to act for a camera rather than an audience: "She's a film actor. She's not pushing. And so I kind of learned that lesson from watching her."

McAdams's second role of 2004 was in the highly successful romantic drama The Notebook, a film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks's novel. She played a wealthy Southern belle who has a forbidden affair with Ryan Gosling's poor laborer. McAdams spent time in Charleston, South Carolina prior to filming to familiarize herself with the accent, and took ballet and etiquette classes. The New York Times praised the "spontaneous and combustible" performances of the two leads while Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times was won over by the "beauty and clarity" of McAdams's performance. The Chicago Tribune declared her "a real discovery" who "infuses young Allie with that radiant, breathlessly winning ingenue grace and charm that breaks hearts". McAdams won an MTV Movie Award and four Teen Choice Awards. Entertainment Weekly has said that the movie contains the All-Time Best Movie Kiss while the Los Angeles Times has included a scene from the film in a list of the 50 Classic Movie Kisses. The Notebook has appeared on many Most Romantic Movies lists. "I'm so grateful to have a film that people respond to in that way," McAdams told Elle in 2011. "It was a big deal".

McAdams starred in three films in 2005. In the comedy Wedding Crashers, McAdams played Claire Cleary, the daughter of an influential politician and a love interest for both Owen Wilson and Bradley Cooper's characters. She trained for a sailing certification because her character was an accomplished sailor. McAdams listened repeatedly to Landslide by Fleetwood Mac to prepare for emotional scenes and Wilson has said the song made her cry immediately: "It was like turning on a faucet". Manohla Dargis of The New York Times felt McAdams "makes the most of her underdeveloped character" and "grows more appealing with every new role". Variety found her "a beguiling presence" who "actually creates a real character -- a rarity for females in one of these lad-mag escapades". The film earned over $209 million at the US box office and remains McAdams's highest grossing movie as of 2011.

McAdams next appeared opposite Cillian Murphy in Red Eye, a Wes Craven thriller about a young woman held captive aboard a red-eye flight. Craven has said McAdams was the only actress he considered for the part. 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." Upon release, the film, which was made on a budget of $26 million, earned over $95 million at the worldwide box office.

Her final film of 2005 was the family drama The Family Stone, an ensemble with Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson and Claire Danes. Variety noted that "a deglammed but still radiant McAdams proves once again that she's the real deal, delivering a deliciously feisty performance". The New York Times felt that her "engaging screen presence holds your attention and sympathy despite the handicap presented by her character's personality." The film was a commercial success: it cost $18 million to make and grossed over $92 million worldwide.

 Career break and low-key return

At this point in her career, she was dubbed the new "Hollywood it girl" and "the next Julia Roberts". McAdams withdrew from public life in 2006 and 2007, taking time off to focus on herself and her family. During this period, the actress turned down roles in The Devil Wears Prada, Casino Royale, Mission: Impossible III and Get Smart. She received a Rising Star Award nomination from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2006 and hosted the 2006 Academy Awards for Technical Achievement.

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". 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", while Roger Ebert hailed the performance as "her coming of age as an actress".

 Return to prominence
She starred in three films in 2009. The first was well-reviewed political thriller State of Play with Ben Affleck, Helen Mirren, Jason Bateman and Russell Crowe. Entertainment Weekly felt she was "perfectly cast as an ambitious wonkette." 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." Sherlock Holmes was her final movie of the year and it stands as her highest-grossing to date. She played Irene Adler, a love interest for Robert Downey, Jr.'s Sherlock. While the movie won generally favourable reviews, critics were left unimpressed with her performance. Variety felt her character was "not very well integrated into the rest of the story, a shortcoming the normally resourceful McAdams is unable to do much about".

2010's Morning Glory, a comedy about a television producer's attempt to improve the ratings of an ailing morning television program, was billed as a starring vehicle for the actress but was only a modest commercial success. McAdams' performance was widely praised. Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times said she "gives the kind of performance we go to the movies for", and Roger Ebert felt she played "as lovable a lead as anyone since Amy Adams in Junebug" in an otherwise "routine" movie.

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. 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". However, The Los Angeles Times felt she "deftly handles a part that is less amiable than usual for her."

Her second screen appearance of 2011 was a cameo role in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. She will star in two films in 2012. The Vow, a romantic drama with Channing Tatum, is due out Valentine's Day 2012. She will also play the lover of Ben Affleck's character in a currently untitled romantic drama written and directed by Terrence Malick. The film has been picked up by international distributors and there is unconfirmed speculation that it will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

 personal life
McAdams lives in The Annex neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She shares a house with her younger brother, although both have separate kitchens and bathrooms. McAdams also holds a US green card and has remarked, "I never thought I’d say this, but I actually miss L.A. when I’m not there." She practices kundalini yoga daily.

McAdams is supportive of various environmental and social causes. She runs an eco-friendly lifestyle website GreenIsSexy.org with two friends. She volunteered in Biloxi, Mississippi in 2005, as part of the clean-up effort following Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, she took part in the "Day Without Immigrants" demonstration in Los Angeles, protesting against the federal government’s attempts to criminalize undocumented aliens living in the United States. In 2011, McAdams attended both the Occupy Toronto demonstration and Foodstock, a protest against a proposed limestone mega quarry in Melancthon, Ontario.

McAdams had an on-off relationship with Canadian actor Ryan Gosling from 2005 to 2008. Following their split, Gosling described her as "one of the great loves of my life". She briefly dated American actor Josh Lucas in 2009. McAdams is currently in a relationship with Welsh actor Michael Sheen, who she met on the set of Midnight in Paris in July 2010.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Rachel McAdams", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.