Why Rachel McAdams Never Became A Movie Star

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The would-be big trailer drop last Friday morning was for Southpaw, the Antoine Fuqua-directed boxing drama. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a down-on-his-luck boxer who must dig deep to get his career back on track and reclaim custody of his young daughter. Late-July release date aside, the Weinstein Company release feels like a would-be Oscar bait biopic almost to the point of self-parody. If you saw the trailer, you probably noticed Rachel McAdams as the "girl" in the picture. Actually, that's not entirely accurate, as she gets killed in the first third of the trailer, which in turn sends Gyllenhaal into a downward spiral. There was a moment ten years ago when she seemed primed to be the next big female movie star. But now she gets "fridged" in male-centric melodramas and gets to be "the girl cop" in True Detective season 2, which is quickly becoming something of a career rehab home for former movie stars and would-be movie stars who never quite made the sell. I have written so very much about the lack of female-led multiplex releases over the last decade or so, and I have long believed would-be "It Girl" McAdams to be among its primary victims. You can't be the next great movie star when Hollywood isn't making movies for you to star in.

The situation isn't all that different from Jason Statham, who became a B-movie action god in an era when there were few A-level action movies to aspire to. Rachel McAdams had the bad luck to spring to stardom just as the so-called female-centric studio release was becoming something of an endangered species. She of course came to fame in 2004 and 2005 with a flurry of high profile vehicles. She was, in 2004, a defining villain in Mean Girls and the co-lead in the generational romantic drama classic The Notebook. She had three major roles in 2005, including the heroic lead in Wes Craven's Red Eye, a supporting role in the Sarah Jessica Parker-led ensemble The Family Stone, and the "prize to be won" romantic interest in New Line Cinema/ Time Warner Inc.'s Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn comedy smash The Wedding Crashers. Take one guess which role would come to define the next decade of would-be stardom? She took a break from acting for a couple years and returned in two low-budget independent films. Married Life was a martial fidelity drama starring Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson, and McAdams as the would-be temptress. The Lucky Ones ( Lions Gate Entertainment) was an underrated and little-seen drama co-starring Tim Robbins and Michael Pena about three Iraq war vets adjusting to life after service.