Sherlock Holmes - Rachel McAdams
Sherlock Holmes - Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) ©2008 Warner Bros

In Rachel McAdams’ relatively short career, she has starred in several successful and eclectic movies including The Notebook, Red Eye, The Time Traveler’s Wife and Wedding Crashers.

She was recently named the Female Star of the Year by the National Association of Theatre Owners at the 2009 ShoWest Convention, perhaps in advance of her newest movie, Sherlock Holmes which is predicted to be a box office champion.

In it she portrays Irene Adler, a con artist from New Jersey, a daring woman ahead of her time who lives on the edge of the law, who at one time had a relationship with Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr).

What was it like for you to dive into this Sherlock Holmes world – did you read any of the novels?

Sherlock Holmes (2009) - Robert Downey Jr and Rachel McAdams
Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) and Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) © Warner Bros

Irene is only in one of the stories, she’s in A Scandal in Bohemia, so there’s not a lot of information on her.

What there is, is great and exciting but it was up for interpretation, and that was good, there was some relief in that, that I could just go at her from whatever angle.

Did wearing the costumes help you get into character?

They hurt a little bit. I needed help to get into them; it was like a three man job.

They were great for the character and for posture and keeping a certain kind of breathing, I honestly don’t know how women did that day in, day out, I was such a baby about it.

How long did you have to stay in them?

Some days I had to weigh it out, is it worth taking it off so I can eat, how hungry am I, it was always a big question in my mind. It was often easier to just leave it on.

What is it about Irene and Sherlock that makes them tick?

Sherlock Holmes (2009) - Rachel McAdams
Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) © Warner Bros

I think they just keep each other going in this weird way, they do this dance and they really look forward to it in an odd way.

I think they inspire each other in a way.

She’s a woman who is ahead of her time.

Right, she a modern girl, she’s a bit of a gun-for-hire and an adventuress and she lives in underworld crime, she’s not the usual for any woman really.

How did you enjoy doing all the physical action in the movie?

Oh I loved that stuff, I grew up playing sports and this is the closest thing I have to doing that anymore.

What was it like working with Robert Downey Jr?

He’s just so great to watch, he works to hard. He’s so naturally gifted he almost doesn’t have to, he could just show up every day and phone it in, but he doesn’t.

He works amazingly hard, he’s so fit, he’s always working, always thinking, he goes through and he hand picks Sherlock’s props for the day, and he’s always bubbling over with ideas and character choices, and it’s fantastic to watch.

Sherlock Holmes (2009) - Rachel McAdams, Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law
Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) & Watson (Jude Law) © Warner Bros

And what about Jude Law who plays Dr Watson?

Jude is such a team player, he’s so cooperative.

There was so much speculation about who was playing Sherlock, who was playing Watson, and I just thought Jude was so perfect for it. I think he just slipped right into that role, but reinvented it as well, and it’s like a new Watson.

I think he’s really attractive, funny and he has faults but he’s the loyal friend, he’s everything you would want Watson to be.

Do you think Irene and Holmes actually have a future together?

I think it will be difficult with them, I think it will always be tumultuous, I don’t see them settling down and having babies any time soon. But you never know.

This does have the potential to be a franchise, how do you feel about the fact that you could be in two or more of these films?

It’s exciting, it’s one of those things that you don’t want to think about it until it happens, so I’m trying to be level-headed about it, but we’ll see.

Do you see Sherlock and Watson as superheroes?

Yeah, they are, they’re pretty incredible. Sherlock has this certain sixth sense, he has powers that other people don’t have.

And they work so well as a team together, I suppose they are period superheroes.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.

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