Rachel McAdams, the star of one of the most celebrated love stories in cinema history, The Notebook, is back in the romance genre for The Time Traveler’s Wife, based on the bestseller by Audrey Niffenegger. She stars as Clare, who has loved Henry (Eric Bana) her entire live, even though she never knows when they will be separated, as Henry is a time traveler but has no control when he will appear or disappear.
On screen you make this world come alive, in your real life are you a romanticist?
Yeah, I confess I am. I love romance and I think it’s delicious and some of my favorite films are love stories. I think you just get a chance to fall in love with the character so much and you get to explore their lives so deeply and these intimate moments that you’re not privy to in life, you can’t be a fly on the wall to people’s relationships. I find relationships so fascinating, the way people interact with each other, and just watching my parents who have been together for so long and they’re still very much in love, I’m in awe of it, and I think it’s a really interested case study to see how people spend their lives together.
Were you a fan of the book?
I read the book a few years ago and thought it was such a beautiful love story, so when the movie came about I was very excited by the prospect of playing Clare. I was so intrigued by the character. I loved that she is an artist, and I also found her to be full of fascinating contradictions: she’s very wise and at the same time a bit naïve; she seeks out the extraordinary – she falls in love with a time traveler – but she also desperately wants something stable in her life. And I think that progresses as the story goes on. She’s committed to this man and everything that comes with him, but she’s struggling to make a home and have a normal life.
Did you use the book as a guide?
I did, there’s such a wealth of knowledge, Audrey is so detailed but, at the same time at a certain point, we just had to let it go and give it our own interpretation, but I really appreciated everything in the book and the attempts to draw on it.
When you see yourself on the screen, do you see yourself lighting it up?
I don’t see it that way necessarily, not to be too critical of myself, 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, 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 the sense of a little bit of longing, I’m always happy and excited with what’s there, and I’m so excited when it all comes together and comes to fruition and we have something to show for it, but it’s never representative of the whole package.
Would you like to get a visit from your older self?
I just read a book about that, a group of women in their thirties writing to their younger self and I thought it was great, they gave up some really nice advice, so I would appreciate that. I think my old, wiser self could tell me a few great things.
Do you have any metaphysical beliefs that you believe in about anything that’s out there rather than what’s here?
I definitely believe in the power of energy, and that you are drawn to certain things for inexplicable reasons in a very powerful way. I don’t know what it is exactly, but things happen miraculously sometimes and so I’m willing to believe that there’s something pretty magical up there. I’m always amazed at the option of roles, you subconsciously wind up doing a role that there was something in there that you needed to deal with and you didn’t realize it. I think I love that about acting, not that it’s therapy, but that you are subconsciously leading towards something, that there’s a powerful energy between you and what you wind up doing in your life, and I think that can’t be denied.