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From Ice Dreams To Screen Success

Once again, rising star Rachel McAdams is in back-to-back films. She is currently on the big screen as the object of Owen Wilson's affection in the summer's biggest comedy, "Wedding Crashers," and looks to continue her winning ways Friday as a hostage on an overnight flight in the new thriller, "Red Eye."

"I am leading a charmed life. I am pinching myself every day," McAdams tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. Last year, McAdams showed her versatility with the back-to-back hits "Mean Girls" and "The Notebook."

In "Red Eye," McAdams' character, Lisa Reisert is held hostage on the plane. The one who plays the evil guy is Irish actor Cillian Murphy of "Batman Begins." As Jackson Rippner, he is an operative in a plot to kill the deputy secretary of homeland security. And Lisa is the key to its success. If she refuses to cooperate, her own father will be killed.

The film is a departure for slasher films director Wes Craven (the "Scream" franchise), notes McAdams. But she adds, "Like a psychological thriller, all the same elements are required of making one of those slasher films. The audience is still on the edge of their seats and Wes is the best at doing that."

There are lots of physical scenes that McAdams says she enjoyed doing. "I love to do it as much as I can in terms of stunts. I started out in athletics growing up," McAdams says. "I was a figure skater. That was my whole world for a long time, and then, I just hung up my skates and completely dived into the acting side of things. It's nice to bring that back together."

Acting was something she enjoyed doing as a kid, she says, and as she got older, she decided to give it a try, putting her money and efforts into seeing where it would take her.

So far, it has been fun.

"So much fun, too much fun, really. Sometimes, it just didn't feel like work," she says referring to her hit comedy, "Wedding Crashers." Next for her is a family drama with Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker and Clare Danes called, "Family Stone."

"It's a little bit sad, but also very funny. It is very poignant," McAdams says.

Fast Facts About Rachel McAdams:

  • Born in London, Ontario, Canada on Oct. 7, 1976
  • At 4, she began competing as an ice skater. At the same time, she was traveling to nearby Stratford to attend local theater and developed an interest in acting.
  • At 12, she performed Shakespeare at the Original Kids Theatre in her hometown. She won her first acting award in 1995 for her role in "I Live In A Little Town," a high school play that was featured in the Ontario Showcase of the Sears Drama Festival.
  • She attended York University, where she performed in numerous student films and stage productions. She graduated with honors, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree in theater.
  • From 1998 –2002, McAdams appeared on screen in "The Famous Jett Jackson" (Disney) as Hannah, the bulimic older sister of one of the main characters.
  • In 2001, she had feature debut in "My Name is Tanino" a comedy directed by Italian director Paolo Virzi, about a young, carefree Italian, (Corrado Fortuna) who chases an American tourist (McAdams) to the U.S. after their romantic liaison in his hometown.
  • She also had a starring role in "Shotgun Love Dolls" (MTV, 2001), a pilot shot for the music network that ultimately collected dust on the shelf.
  • In 2002, she had roles in several movies-of-the-week, including "Guilt By Association," the first original movie to be produced by Court TV. And she had her breakout role in the Canadian feature "Perfect Pie," as the best friend of a small-town girl who makes it big. It won her a nomination for a Genie Award, Canada's equivalent to the Oscar.

    Also in 2002, she set her sights on Hollywood and starred in "The Hot Chick," a teen comedy about a mean-spirited high school girl, who through the workings of a spell, wakes up to find herself trapped in the body of a 30-something man played by Rob Schneider.

  • In 2004, McAdams did another turn as a mean-spirited high schooler in "Mean Girls," written by "Saturday Night Live" veteran Tina Fey. She also starred in the romance "The Notebook."
  • On the heels of both "Mean Girls" and "The Notebook," McAdams was named the Supporting Actress of the Year at the 2005 ShoWest Convention. She also won three MTV Movie Awards in the categories of Breakthrough Female; Best On-Screen Team, shared with her "Mean Girls" classmates; and Best Kiss, shared with Ryan Gosling, for "The Notebook."
  • Later this year, McAdams stars in the holiday comedy "The Family Stone," joining an ensemble cast that also includes Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes and Luke Wilson. The film is slated for release in November 2005.