Rachel McAdams shot to fame in the mid-2000s, starring in hit films like Mean Girls, Wedding Crashers and The Notebook. But at the height of her fame, she decided to take a break from acting.
In a new interview with Bustle, she revealed why she left Hollywood behind — and how the decision made her feel “empowered.”
2004 saw the release of two of McAdams’ biggest hits: she played high school queen bee Regina George in comedy hit Mean Girls and Allie in the romantic drama The Notebook. But she found the abrupt rise to fame overwhelming.
“You don’t go to theater school to learn about how to deal with that,” McAdams told Bustle on her sudden fame. “There’s no book on how to navigate that.”
McAdams was uncomfortable with some of the things expected of her as a celebrity: she says she walked off a Vanity Fair photoshoot after being asked to pose nude with Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley.
At the height of her fame, she decided to take a break from Hollywood and return to Canada to focus on her own wellbeing.
“I felt guilty for not capitalizing on the opportunity that I was being given, because I knew I was in such a lucky spot,” McAdams says. “But I also knew it wasn’t quite jiving with my personality and what I needed to stay sane.”
While on hiatus, McAdams turned down some major blockbuster films, including The Devil Wears Prada, Iron Man, Casino Royale and Mission Impossible III.
She admits she has occasional regrets about turning down those major films, but ultimately feels things worked out for the best. “There’s certainly things like ‘I wish I’d done that,'” she told Bustle. “[But] I step back and go, ‘That was the right person for that.’”
“There were definitely some anxious moments of wondering if I was just throwing it all away, and why was I doing that? It’s taken years to understand what I intuitively was doing,” she says.
But today, she says she feels that her two-year break from acting “really helped me feel empowered. It helped me feel like I was taking back some control. And I think it sort of allowed me to come in from a different doorway.”
After her hiatus, McAdams returned to Hollywood in a better place and has had great success. Her projects include the Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Strange blockbusters, holiday comedy-drama The Family Stone, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, the romance About Time, and the hit comedy Game Night.
She received an Oscar nomination for her performance in Spotlight, which also won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Her newest film is an adaptation of Judy Blume’s classic coming-of-age novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, opening this month.
Being a Hollywood celebrity can be a lot of pressure, and we’re glad Rachel McAdams took the break she needed and is now back better than ever!
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