Rachel McAdams carved a career in Hollywood’s romantic comedies with her lively girl-next-door persona, but recently, she’s developed a penchant for the darker side.
McAdams, 36, has shifted gears in grittier films and roles, playing Maureen Hope, a loving wife and mother to boxer Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) in rags-to-riches-to-rags tale “Southpaw,” in theaters this Friday.
The actress, also starring as world-weary Detective Ani Bezzerides on HBO’s crime drama “True Detective,” spoke to Reuters about the world of boxing and taking a dramatic turn. Below are excerpts.
Q: Did you talk to any wives of boxers to tap into their roller coaster of emotions?
A: There’s not a lot out there on the family behind the boxer. But I did speak to a few families and it’s just mind-blowing the sacrifice, the anxiety. A few women talked about that; the world is so seductive and when you’re on top, everybody’s your best friend and when you lose one fight, it all falls apart, so just how hard and fickle that was.
Q: There’s something very “Real Housewives” about Maureen’s glamorous clothes and hair, was that fun to play?
A: She’s from New York, I like that she’s not used to having all this money so she’s kind of jacked up a bit and glamorous, and I like that that’s who she is and she doesn’t apologize for it. The boxing world is pretty glitzy, I learned from going to a couple fights. So I think it works for her.
Q: What are you enjoying about playing edgier characters recently, in “A Most Wanted Man” and “True Detective.”
A: They’re all very different, which I love. I think I like that more than whether it’s dark or light or comedy or drama or anything like that, it’s just a new challenge and new and complicated roles where it’s not clear on the page who they are, you have to do some digging and it’s not a straight-ahead person, as none of us are.
So yes, the darkness has been interesting. I was thinking about this with “True Detective,” it was so creatively satisfying that it didn’t feel dark or depressing or anything like that, it felt pretty good at the end of the day, so that was a nice surprise.
Q: We’ll always know you as Regina George in “Mean Girls.”
A: That’s dark! (laughs)