Love & Time Travel: Interview With About Time’s Rachel McAdams

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If you’re a sucker for a good romantic comedy, don’t miss About Time – a new film from the man behind Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary about love, family and time travel.

Writer/director Richard Curtis has done it again with the story of Tim, a young man who comes from a long line of time travelers, and Mary, the girl he loves so much that he’ll change the past to win her heart.

The movie, which hits theaters on November 1, stars Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy and the lovely Rachel McAdams. It features an amazing soundtrack including Ben Folds’ tear-jerker, The Luckiest, as well as songs by The Cure, Amy Winehouse and more.

I sat down with Rachel McAdams and Richard Curtis to discuss their experiences and reflections on the film.

What moment would they re-live?

Both McAdams and Curtis would reverse a regret – Curtis would not have seen The Exorcist as a child and McAdams would not have gone paragliding. But they both gave family-focused responses when asked what moment they would re-live:

Curtis: “I think I’d go back to any Christmas Day 20 years ago. And I should simply have filmed [my mother] talking about tea or what had happened that day and everything like that.  I’d done this thing when I knew she was getting old where I would sit with her with my typewriter and ask her, so when did you and Auntie Rowe go to London. I thought it was important to have all the facts. Because it’s very hard to remember the texture of people who you lose.”

McAdams: “My dad had to go away for work sometimes, and we recorded on our little Fisher Price recorder a tape for him to put in his truck when he was driving.  And we sang jingles from our favorite cartoons.  And they both had big spaces between their teeth when they were little.  And my brother, I’ll never forget this, singing Thunder Cats, Thunder, Thunder, Thunder, Thunder Cats.  And it was so cute. My sister taped over it with Lionel Richie’s Dancing on the Ceiling. So, we don’t have it.  I would kill for that.”

On filming the movie:

McAdams and Curtis laugh and finish each other’s sentences as they discuss their experiences making the movie.

The relationship is very warm and familial, much like they described the atmosphere on set.

McAdams: “[It was] very friendly and warm, yes.  Terribly friendly and warm, I loved it.  It was such a beautiful movie to work on because the whole crew was infected with what was happening in the story.  And we were all like kind of appreciating things just that little bit more than you would and sort of taking stock and because that was such a key part of it.  So, it was really infectious in that way.”

One of the movie’s strengths are the wonderfully complex and real characters that move throughout the story. Rachel McAdams’ character, Mary, is so normal and down-to-earth that even the director was impressed with McAdams’ dedication to staying true to her character.

Curtis: “I think probably the moment I saw Rachel, my initial reaction was you’re too pretty, we’re going to have to mess her up.  But, you were stubborn on making her–I mean, she wears a clumping great red cardigan. And I was not convinced by that at all, was I? I think the pressure of trying to normalize her came from Rachel a lot there, and even that blue dress that [she] wore. On the whole,  [McAdams was] very keen that she should not be a movie heroine in that movie heroine way, and that we should try and make her… As normal a girl as possible.”

On creating the soundtrack:

Another infectious part of the movie was the soundtrack which accentuates every scene of the movies and glides the viewer fluidly from scene to scene and between past and present. Curtis discussed his process in writing in relation to the emotional soundtrack.

“It was the one where most of the songs were written into the screenplay… And that’s partly to do with how I write, which is I kind of need to be cheered up by songs but also need to be the opposite.”

About Time takes you on a great journey through one man’s life, sometimes reversing course but always hitting all the right notes. In limited release on November 1 and wide release on November 8, About Time will pull on the heartstrings of anyone who’s ever fallen in love, cared for a loved one, or been part of eccentrically normal family.

Watch the trailer below:

 

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