After playing Eric Bana's other half in The Time Traveler's Wife and Owen Wilson's fiancee in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, Rachel McAdams was hoping to journey through the years herself in her latest film, About Time. Centring around a dysfunctional family where the men can venture back into their own pasts, the 34-year-old was disappointed to discover that her character remains very much in the here and now.
"It's pretty unfair!" she laughs. "I've now done three films with time travel in them and I've not got to time travel once, so I'm kind of bitter about that. So I'll have to do one more where I can do that. But it's a funny construct and it made it a lot smoother that not everyone was allowed to know what was happening, as it was like a closely guarded secret. I love the time travel in this as it was a really clever way of just making a romantic comedy a little bit different."
Written and directed by Wellington-born Richard Curtis, it stars Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter's Bill Weasley) as hapless lawyer Tim, who manipulates events in his quest to woo McAdams' Mary. "I always feel a kind of renewed lust for life whenever I come out of a film like this," says McAdams.
"What I like about this film is that you think it's about the experience of getting to do things over again and getting a second chance.
But it's really about relishing the first chance we all have. It sounds like a sappy thing to say but what else do we have?"
After Andie McDowell's American fashionista in his 1994 breakthrough Four Weddings and a Funeral and Julia Roberts' Hollywood film star in Notting Hill, About Time is Curtis' third film to revolve around a burgeoning relationship between an expat American and a bumbling middle-class Englishman.
"We're not concentrating on Mary's complexities as we didn't have the time to do that," admits McAdams, who is based in Toronto. "What I liked about it was that it wasn't about a romance that falls apart and then picks itself back up again. That's what you'd expect to happen in this film and I like that Richard was looking to do something else. Maybe it doesn't always have to come crashing down as there are people out there who are making a life together. It's not always easy but the turmoil doesn't always have to be between them, it can be happening around them so we can then watch a couple being a team within that."
According to McAdams, About Time portrays a very different kind of love affair from her 2004 hit The Notebook, which saw sparks fly between her 17-year-old heiress Allie Hamilton and Ryan Gosling's lowly country boy, Noah Calhoun. "Ryan was so wonderful to work with as he's such a powerful actor," she recalls. "I owe a lot to that movie as people responded to it so positively. It always warms my heart and it's funny because a lot of men like to confess to me that they've seen The Notebook and they cried more than their wives! It's like a real thing to them, which is very sweet and delightful to hear."
About Time is in cinemas now.