Over the last 15 years or so, Rachel McAdams has become one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. Here are some facts that you may have not known about the loveable actress.
42. Ontario Origins
Rachel McAdams was born on November 17, 1978 in the city of London, Ontario, Canada to parents Sandra and Lance. She was raised in St. Thomas, Ontario.
41. On Thin Ice
At the age of four, McAdams took to the ice and began figure skating. She competed until the age of 18 and picked up numerous regional awards.
40. Early Acting Forays
Figure skating would soon take a backseat to acting, as the young McAdams would begin to take acting more seriously. She was a member of the Original Kids Theatre Company in London, Ontario, and attended Disney and Shakespeare acting camps.
39. From the Golden Arches to the Silver Screen
Like many teenagers, McAdams worked part-time at McDonald’s. By her own admission, she was “not a great employee,” and even broke an orange juice machine at one point.
McAdams studied at Toronto’s York University in their four-year theatre program. She completed her BFA degree in 2001, graduating with honors.
37. Early Television Roles
McAdams’ first major acting roles included appearances on the TV shows The Famous Jett Jackson and Slings and Arrows.
36. A Couple of Firsts
Her film debut came in the 2002 Italian-Canadian co-production My Name is Tanino. Not only was this her first film, but also the scenes shot in Italy required McAdams to take her first ever flight on an airplane.
35. Rachel Takes Hollywood
2002 also marked McAdams’ first Hollywood feature film appearance. She appeared in the movie The Hot Chick, where her high school student character swaps bodies with a middle-aged petty criminal character played by Rob Schneider. Although the film was not a critical success, McAdams did receive some attention as an actress with serious potential.
34. 2004: McAdams’ Annus Mirabilis
The year 2004 was a major turning point in her career; the year saw the release of both Mean Girls and The Notebook. The two films were well received, grossing over $100 million each at the box office and both were integral in making McAdams into a major star.
33. Glengarry Glen Regina
In preparing for her role as the “Queen Bee” Regina George in Mean Girls, McAdams studied Alec Baldwin’s fast-talking performance in the 1992 real estate drama Glengarry Glen Ross.
32. An Interesting Age
McAdams was 25 when she filmed Mean Girls. Although it is common for older actors to portray high school students, her age did make for some interesting quirks in relation to some of her co-stars. Lindsay Lohan, who portrays her classmate Cady Heron, was eight years younger than McAdams during filming. Not to mention, McAdams was only seven years younger than Amy Poehler, who played her mom in the movie.
31. Getting the 411
Before filming The Notebook, McAdams took lessons on etiquette and ballet and worked on her Southern accent in order to nail the part of Southern belle Allie Hamilton.
30. MTV Movie Award Maven
McAdams’ success in 2004 resulted in five MTV Movie Award nominations. She won awards for Best Breakthrough Female Performance in Mean Girls, Best On-Screen Team, which she shared with her fellow Plastics and Mean Girls co-stars, and shared the Best Kiss award with Ryan Gosling for The Notebook. She was also nominated for Best Villain (Mean Girls) and Best Female Performance (The Notebook).
29. A Brief Break
After riding the success of her 2004 films and further successes in 2005 with Wedding Crashers and Red Eye, McAdams took a brief break from acting between 2006 and 2007.
28. Working With Holmes and Watson
McAdams would team up with Robert Downey Jr. in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes and its 2011 sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, playing the role of Irene Adler.
27. Lying About Allergies
McAdams concealed her allergies to horses for a chance to work with visionary director Terrence Malick and his film To the Wonder, which would feature the equine creatures.
26. Film Criticism Trivia
Speaking of To the Wonder, it’s notable for being the last movie ever filed for review by the legendary film critic Roger Ebert before his death. Roger Ebert’s appreciation of McAdams was evident in his review of Red Eye. He wrote, “Red Eye will be more important, because casting directors, who know what to look for, will see that [Rachel McAdams] 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.”
25. Best Picture Nomination
In 2011, McAdams starred in the Woody Allen-directed film Midnight in Paris. The film was both a critical and commercial success. It opened the Cannes Film Festival, and would be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
24. Lending a Helping Hand
In 2005, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, McAdams went to Biloxi, Mississippi and Louisiana to help with the recovery efforts.
23. Living Green
The actress is a noted environmentalist. For many years, she ran the eco-friendly lifestyle website GreenIsSexy.org. Moreover, her home is powered by renewable and green energy sources, and she prefers to get around by bicycle over automobile.
22. Working With an Idol
McAdams starred with Philip Seymour Hoffman in the film A Most Wanted Man, which would be the final Hoffman film to be released before he died.
21. Return to Television
McAdams returned to her television roots in 2015 when she starred in the second season of the HBO series True Detective. She played the pocket-knife toting Detective Ani Bezzerides.
20. Crashing into the Wedding Crashers Again
She has reunited with three of her Wedding Crashers co-stars over the course her career. She starred with Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris, with Vince Vaughan in True Detective, and Bradley Cooper in Aloha.
19. Best Picture Victory
In 2015, she starred in the Tom McCarthy-directed film Spotlight. The film told the true story of the team of Boston Globe reporters who uncovered instances of sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic archdiocese of Boston. The film was a major success and most notably won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Along with her all-star cast members, including Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Stanley Tucci, McAdams was the recipient of the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
18. Academy Award Nominated
In Spotlight, McAdams plays real-life investigative journalist Sacha Pfeiffer. She prepared for the role by meeting with Pfeiffer prior to filming. The preparations seemed to have helped, as she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
17. Getting Animated
McAdams provided her voice to the animated film The Little Prince, based on the popular children’s book of the same name. She voiced the character of The Mother of The Little Girl.
16. Living in Toronto
Despite being a big Hollywood name and holding a US Green Card, McAdams maintains her primary residence in Toronto, Ontario, only a few hours away from her hometown of St. Thomas.
15. Filming Close to Home
Two of her most famous films—Mean Girls and Spotlight—were actually filmed in her home province of Ontario. Despite being set in suburban Chicago and Boston, respectively, both films were largely shot in the cities of Toronto and Hamilton.
14. Venturing Into the World of Superheroes
It seems to be an unwritten rule in Hollywood these days that actors must be affiliated with a major superhero/comic book film franchise. After turning down opportunities to be in The Dark Knight and Iron Man, McAdams finally starred in a superhero movie in 2016’s Marvel Cinematic Universe production Doctor Strange, where she plays Christine Palmer.
13. Musical Detour
McAdams provided some spoken word vocals to “Toulouse”—a song featured on Canadian musician Daniel Romano’s album Mosey.
12. An Off-Screen Artist Sister
McAdams’ sister Kayleen is a prominent celebrity makeup artist. She was also a makeup artist on two films starring her sister—Married Life and The Lucky Ones.
11. Daily Yoga Habit
Although she may have hung up her figure skates, McAdams continues to stay active and in great physical shape through her daily morning ritual of practicing Kundalini yoga.
10. Immortalized in Stone
In 2014, McAdams received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. Her star is located on a sidewalk in downtown Toronto.
9. Changing Hair Colour
Throughout her many films and even between films, McAdams has sported many different hairstyles and hair colors. For the record, she is a natural brunette.
8. Star of Literary Adaptations
Many of her films are adaptations of novels by some very notable and popular authors, including Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook), Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler’s Wife), Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes), John le Carré (A Most Wanted Man), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince), and Naomi Alderman (the upcoming Disobedience). In addition, Mean Girls was actually adapted from the self-help book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman.
7. A Canadian Voice for a Canadian Novel
McAdams served as the narrator of an audiobook version of L.M. Montgomery’s Canadian young adult classic Anne of Green Gables.
6. A Truly Iconic Line
Perhaps the most famous and quoted line uttered by Rachel McAdams in one of her films is “Stop trying to make fetch happen” from Mean Girls. The line has become so recognizable, it was also referenced in a White House tweet featuring the Obamas’ dog.
5. Box Office Success
As of early 2018, McAdams’ films have cumulatively made over $1.6 billion at the North American box office.
There’s a rather interesting quirk in McAdams’ filmography. To date, she has appeared in four films regarding time travel and time manipulation—The Time Traveler’s Wife, Midnight in Paris, About Time, and Doctor Strange. Yet, in all of these movies, McAdams’ character is denied the opportunity to travel in time and remains firmly in the present. We hope this changes in McAdams’ eventual fifth time travel film.
2018 is shaping up to be an interesting year for McAdams. She is slated to appear in the action comedy Game Night and the romantic drama Disobedience. In November, McAdams will be marking a very special birthday, as she will be turning 40.
2. Co-Star Coincidence
McAdams was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, which coincidentally is the same hospital where her The Notebook co-star and one-time beau Ryan Gosling was also born. St. Joseph’s Hospital is also the birthplace of another well-known Canadian celebrity—Justin Bieber.
1. Nixing a Photoshoot
McAdams once stormed out of a photoshoot and fired her publicist after she was told that she was expected to pose nude. In 2006, McAdams was slated to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair’s annual Hollywood issue, but she was not informed that the shoot would involve nudity. When she found out she immediately left. Clearly, her publicist had overlooked a rather crucial detail when explaining the details.
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