Go behind the scenes of The Time Travellers wife with Rachel McAdams
Love is in the air and Rachel McAdams is the first to admit she is a hopeless romantic. So it turns out she is the perfect person to play one of this year’s most romantic big-screen heroines in The Time Traveler’s Wife. In the heart-tugging tear-jerker adaptation she plays Clare Abshire – a woman who falls in love with a time traveller played by Eric Bana. But while 30-year-old Rachel is renowned for sparking real chemistry with her co-stars – (and The Time Traveler’s Wife is no different) this time it is rumoured she only has eyes for one man off-screen – American Psycho actor Josh Lucas, 38.
Here Rachel talks about why she is a real believer in fate, Sherlock Holmes, getting naked and how she just loves to love. . .
Q: What’s your take on your character Clare in The Time Travellers Wife?
RM: “She’s really a lady in waiting often. It was frustrating in that way. She knows what she wants but she can’t have it. She has it but it’s so fleeting. It’s always just slipping out of her fingers. To have that kind of confidence in love at such a young age, yet it’s always slipping through the cracks.. for me, as an actor, it was a really frustrating dilemma.”
Q: How much did you actually get to work with Eric Bana if he was disappearing all the time?
RM: “[Laughs] Right. Quite a bit. A lot of the effects were done in post-production so we were actually working together a fair amount.”
Q: This movie uses a lot of time travel. Would you like to ever get a visit from your former self, and give it a little pep talk or something, like in this movie?
RM: “Ha! I just read a book like that. About a group of women in their thirties, writing to their younger selves. And I thought that was really great. They gave themselves some really nice advice. So yeah, I would really appreciate that. I think my older, wiser self could tell me a few great things.”
Q: The book was hard to keep track of so I can imagine, as an actor, you were going ‘now when is this and where’?
RM: “But what’s interesting is almost all films are like that. They jump around out of order and you’re constantly wondering ‘what’s happened? What year is it? Who am I now? What’s the moment before? What’s the moment ahead?’ So, I’d had a lot of practice, actually, before going into it.”
Q: Do you have any metaphysical connections or beliefs, like in this movie? You know, that something is out there that exists, other than what’s here.
RM: “I definitely believe in the power of energy. And that you are drawn to certain things for inexplicable reasons. But in a very powerful way. Yeah. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I know that things happen kind of miraculously sometimes. So I‘m willing to believe that there‘s something magical out there. I couldn’t tell you what it is. But, yeah.”
Q: On the subject of fate, what has fate played in your life?
RM: “Well, just being here. And you know, having this life. There’s a balance of some hand guiding you somewhere, and at the same time, your own free will and taking the bull by the horns. I do think it’s a combination of the two, that gets you wherever you are. And I think there’s a little bit of control, but not much!”
Q: Is this movie deeply connected to the book?
RM: “Yes, but at a certain point, we just had to let it go, and give it our own interpretation. I really appreciated everything in the book, and the chance to draw on it and to go back and uncover that again and again. It was helpful for me.”
Q: You’ve been described as an incandescent screen presence. You just light up. But how do you see yourself, when you see yourself on screen?
RM: “Ha! Not to be too critical of myself, I don’t see myself like that necessarily. But it’s a constant journey for me, and a constant learning experience. And I wish I could just step back and watch it, and be carried away. But it never encapsulates the experience. You know, that hour and a half never sums up the shooting of it. And the relationships you made, and the trials and tribulations. So I’m always left with a sense, a little bit, of longing. And I’m always happy with what’s there. And I’m so excited when it all comes together in fruition, and we have something to show for it. But it’s never representative of the whole package.”
Q: What do you hope people will zero in on with this movie, that is special and memorable to you?
RM: “I really feel like it’s the sum of all the parts. Because it’s such a long life they have together, every moment builds to the next. But I don’t think there’s one thing that stands out to me.”
Q: Did you feel you missed out not having any nude scenes compared to Eric Bana, who had a lot?
RM: “(Laughs) Juicy nudity time. No, I was happy to give it over.”
Q: What does the time travel element add to the mix for both of you? It takes a love story and makes it a fantasy story in a sense. If you removed that the film wouldn’t work in quite the same way.
RM: “It’s something I think we both deal with as actors; it’s separation, it’s falling off the face of the earth sometimes to the other side of it. I think it’s this thing that tears you away from the people you love and I think that’s something that’s fairly relatable.”
Q: Did you enjoy playing a teenager in pat of the movie even though you’re 30 now?.
RM: “Yeah it was fun to be sixteen again. We spent a lot of time talking about the hair, the clothes, the makeup, and you know I worked with such amazingly talented people who, with just a brush stroke, would change my face a little bit. And same with the older Clare as well, I mean I looked at myself in the mirror one day and I didn’t really realize we were doing the older Clare that day and I said “Oh, I’m looking a little haggard.” (Laughs) She said “Oh, don’t worry it’s paint.”
Q: It’s hard to imagine this film with any other actors besides the two of you. Such great chemistry. Did you all realize that when you got together and started rehearsing? Is chemistry something you can actually tell?
RM: “The story lends to chemistry or it doesn’t, because you can’t express that you’re madly in love a person, as you were saying, over a lunch. It has to develop story wise, you have to have the support and backbone from the script that accentuates that.”
Q: You’re also in Sherlock Holmes that’s coming up – does that feel like the biggest blockbuster you’ve ever been a part of?
RM: “Oh, yes, definitely, I think it is.”
Q: What’s that like – to be on a set like that?
RM: “Oh it’s so fun because everything is so realistic and we’re shooting in the real dungeons of London and I had the most beautiful costumes and everything’s fairly authentic. Yeah it was great.”
Q: Are you supposed to have chemistry with Sherlock Holmes?
RM: “We do have a certain kind of chemistry; more like an experiment gone wrong. We tangle in an interesting way.”
Q: And I take it you do an accent.
RM: “I do. But I’m actually from New Jersey, so there’s a certain lilt to the late 1800s, but…
Q: Victorian New Jersey?
RM: “Exactly, Victorian New Jersey. Not a lot of experts on Victorian New Jersey, by the way.”
The Time Travellers Wife is now showing at Irish Cinemas
Sherlock Holmes opens in December