When the new comedy "Morning Glory" premieres this week, we'll be looking forward to watching Canadian-born beauty Rachel McAdams hold her own onscreen against the veteran talents of Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford. A less-seasoned star might be intimidated! But while Rachel's career was late-breaking at first, her exuberant performances and diverse roles over the past six years have made her one of the most coveted actresses in Hollywood. How did she make it so big, so fast? Let's take a look.
Rachel was born in London, Ontario, Canada in 1978. But unlike many other major stars, acting wasn't the family business—so instead of getting an early start in showbiz, Rachel took up competitive figure skating at age four. She didn't get a taste of drama until her teens, when an interest in acting led her to join a summer theater camp and professors recognized that they had a true talent on their hands.
Rachel studied drama in college and had a few minor roles under her belt by the time she landed the female lead in the otherwise-dismal comedy "The Hot Chick" opposite Rob Schneider. (Not quite the auspicious start that we'd expect from such a highly-rated actress... but hey, at least it wasn't "The Animal.") But her big break came in 2004, when she appeared as Regina George in the hilarious, critically-acclaimed "Mean Girls" opposite Lindsay Lohan. Rachel's pitch-perfect performance of a mean queen bee earned her major props—not to mention an MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance.
Of course, everyone knows what happened next: Rachel snagged the lead in "The Notebook," the iconic romance that made her the envy of every woman in the western world who's dreamed of making out with Ryan Gosling in the rain. Her performance earned her the attention of Hollywood, leading to a flurry of diverse roles...
...and, of course, it earned her the attention of Ryan Gosling (and, once again, the seething envy of every woman in the western world. Why is it that she keeps getting to kiss Ryan Gosling, while we get set up on blind dates with a guy who lives in his mother's basement and keeps his farts in jars?) The pair dated for three years before finally calling it quits—and ruining our faith in humanity forever.
Over the next year, Rachel appeared in a host of different movies—playing the terrified victim of would-be domestic terrorist Cillian Murphy in "Red Eye," the sweet and even-keeled love interest of Owen Wilson in "Wedding Crashers," and the green-minded hippie sister in the ensemble drama "The Family Stone." But fame didn't go to her head; instead of overbooking herself and kicking her career into high gear, Rachel decided to take a year off in 2006 and spend time with friends and family. (She even reportedly turned down the chance to be a Bond girl, leaving the role of Vesper Lynd in "Casino Royale" to Eva Greene.)
After a restorative period away from the limelight, Rachel came back in 2009 in full force playing opposite Eric Bana in the supernatural romance "The Time Traveler's Wife," and landing the Victorian femme fatale role of Irene Adler in Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes." She also had a brief, high-profile romance with actor Josh Lucas (her first since parting ways with Ryan), but it didn't last—and lately, she's been seen stepping out with a new maybe-beau, her "Midnight in Paris" costar Michael Sheen. But don't look for a confirmation of that relationship unless it gets serious; giving up gossip isn't Rachel's style, and the actress tends to keep her private life under wraps.
Meanwhile, these days, all the news about Rachel McAdams is strictly professional; she'll be reuniting with "Family Stone" costar Diane Keaton in this month's "Morning Glory," and she's on tap to appear in at least three more films (including the highly-anticipated "Sherlock Holmes" sequel!) through 2012.
Click on any of the photos above to see even more pics from Rachel McAdams' stellar career. Want to sneak peek "Morning Glory"? Check out all of our movie clips. And...you could win a "Morning Glory"-inspired Working Girl wardrobe and trip to NYC. Check out all the details!
What's your favorite Rachel McAdams movie?