Rachel McAdams: Queen of the weepie

By Michele Manelis

Rachel McAdams is set to have us reaching for our hankies again in The Vow, writes Michele Manelis.

Rachel McAdams with Channing Tatum in The Vow. Photo / Supplied
Rachel McAdams with Channing Tatum in The Vow. Photo / Supplied

When it comes to tear-jerking movies, Rachel McAdams seems to be in cahoots with the tissue industry.

She might have started out as one of the Mean Girls and recently ranged from Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris to Guy Richie's Sherlock Holmes.

But her speciality seems to be weepies. To the glassy-eyed likes of The Notebook and The Time Traveler's Wife, McAdams has now added The Vow which also stars Hollywood's latest go-to lead hunk Channing Tatum.

The two are a newlywed couple who try to reconnect after a car crash leaves McAdams' character Paige with severe memory loss - head trauma has erased the memory of the most recent four years of her life. She thinks she's still engaged to someone else which means Tatum's character must go to extraordinary lengths to win back his wife's affections and make her fall in love with him again.

At the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills, McAdams looks appropriately dramatic in a Katharine Kidd strapless black lace gown and Christian Louboutin heels.

Her blonde hair is long and flowing, and her makeup is flawless.

She's making no apologies for making another movie aimed at the tear ducts. "I'm a fan of romantic movies. It doesn't necessarily have to be a straight-ahead relationship between lovers, but I do like movies that are about love."

"I never go into a movie wanting to cry. I try to avoid those films but I'm glad when I do see them because those movies stay with you forever and you have a cathartic experience. For me, they are the most meaningful.

"Ultimately, love is what we are all seeking, and what we all want."

Yes, The Vow does sound like a serious take on the premise of the Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore comedy 50 First Dates but it's loosely based on a true story of a real-life couple Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, who were in a car accident in New Mexico and wrote a book about how they remained together.

The film also stars Sam Neill as Paige's estranged father who says "the thing about this film is it's about serious things we all understand and matter to all of us - the business of commitment, the nature of true love, the importance of shared memories".

In the real world, there have been many suitors vying for the attentions of petite blonde McAdams. Although she doesn't reveal which of her former boyfriends has gone the extra mile, she says, "Someone once went behind my back, got all of my measurements, and had a dress made for me." (Although unconfirmed, all signs point to Ryan Gosling, who has a passion for designing clothes).

And did this gesture win her over?

"It certainly did," she smiles. "I had seen the dress in a window one night when we were walking. I stopped and I was just gazing at it and he did that for me. So yeah, that was lovely."

And in what ways does she reciprocate? "I think I'm a romantic person, but for me, it's not the grand gestures. I like to make someone their favourite meal. I have a note section in my Blackberry and I put even the littlest things in there, so on a rainy day I can pick something out to do for someone."

Famously private about her personal life, she is currently in a relationship with British actor Michael Sheen (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) whom she met in July 2010 on the set of Midnight in Paris. "I will remain silent on this subject," she says of her own love life.

McAdams says it was fun to play the shrewish fiance of Owen Wilson's character in the Allen hit.

"There's more freedom playing 'the villain' and a lot less pressure than being the lovable, charming leading lady. I loved the movie. I'm so glad that so many people connected with it. Woody is such a wonder. I found him to be endlessly hilarious," she says.

"It was a surreal experience to shoot the movie in Paris, a city swarming of tourists and to be the only person standing on the Pont Neuf overlooking the lily pads with Woody and Owen was unexplainable."

Despite her obvious physical appeal, which could have easily hampered her acting, she's turned in substantial performances without always being confined to the role of girlfriend.

"I think you're always fighting to surprise other people, as well as yourself. I think part of the fun is trying to go against what people think. You should never get too comfy."

McAdams is now getting the pick of roles. "I pinch myself when I think about the people I've worked with, particularly the actors I grew up watching in my favourite films. It still amazes me," she gushes.

"Never in a million years did I think I'd be able to do something I considered as a hobby. The fact that I've made a life of it and it's taken me around the world," she says, shaking her head. "It blows my mind some days."

Lowdown

Who: Rachel McAdams
What: The Vow
When: Screening now

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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