She broke countless hearts in such memorable romantic dramas as “The Notebook” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” Now, Rachel McAdams stars in another touching love story – Columbia Pictures’ “The Vow” opposite Channing Tatum.
“The Vow” is the real-life story of Paige and Leo, a newlywed New Mexico couple, who were struck by tragedy shortly after their marriage. A car crash puts Paige in a coma, where she is cared for by her devoted husband. When she comes to, without any memory of her husband or their marriage, the husband must woo her and ultimately win her heart once again.
For director Michael Sucsy, casting Paige was tricky, because it was important for the character not to come off as too distant when adjusting to her post-coma world. “The difficult thing for an actress in approaching the role of Paige is that she comes out and she doesn’t have any connection to her husband. He’s a stranger to her. If she’s too off-putting, it’s hard to root for her. And in the case of Rachel McAdams, she’s the perfect actress to play the role, because she can tread that line of being likeable, but being convincing that she’s going through this process of having lost her memory.”
McAdams connected with the script and her character from the beginning: “I loved the way the script unfolded. When we first meet Paige, she is a much more actualized version of herself than we see later on in the film, which is kind of a backwards way to go but exactly what I found so interesting.” She explains, “Paige has embraced the life she’s made with Leo. They’re clearly free and comfortable and supportive of each other; she appreciates his music and he encourages her sculpting. But then we find out that she’s cut off from her family and denying a big part of her life.”
It’s been said that a common reaction for people with brain trauma and memory loss is for them feel inadequate and frustrated. The people and things they can’t remember become associated with anxiety, frustration and confusion. This aspect also intrigued McAdams. “It stands to reason that a person would feel overwhelmed by it all and want to avoid what is making them feel bad about themselves even though others are trying to help,” she says. “It must be so frustrating for everyone in this situation! So often people have to take a stand about who they are, but then they lose important people in their life. Paige feels inadequate and frustrated by her memory loss and at one point just finds it easier to be away from Leo. This is about bridging the gap between those two things and so many of us can relate to that.”
“It’s a great romantic love story but also about familial love too,” says McAdams. “When Paige wakes up and doesn’t recognize her husband and learns that she’s estranged from her family, she sees big holes in her life that need to be filled in. I find that idea of not knowing if you will find your way back to your destiny so interesting.” She continues, “Do you naturally gravitate towards all the things you were already going towards in your life, or does it just start from scratch and you have to build yourself up as a person all over again? And I think that’s such an interesting idea that they say you will naturally go where you were. You’ll find your way back there even though you have to relearn everything from scratch. A driving force through the whole movie is you’re waiting for this epiphany, you’re waiting for that light bulb moment and it doesn’t necessarily come.”
Co-star Channing Tatum is so impressed by Rachel: “Look, she is one of the most brilliant and beautiful people that I’ve ever met. Not just as an actor, but as a person. She cares. She has the true talent to be able to make any line work – and we’ve got some serious big lines in this movie – which can be hard to pull off, but she just does. She has an uncanny ability to make anything sound real and amazing because she commits and believes in it. I’m in awe of her and I’ve learned so much from her.”
Opening across the Philippines in February, “The Vow” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit www.columbiapictures.com.ph to see the latest trailers, get free downloads and play free movie games.