Monday, April 20, 2009

Rachel McAdams holds her own opposite Russell Crowe

First thing’s first. No, Rachel McAdams and Russell Crowe don’t get it on in their movie, "State of Play". Their characters don’t even flirt with each other. That’s one of a few clichés that "State of Play" manages to avoid: sexual tension between the male and female lead characters. (Another cliché that the movie doesn’t have: the coupling of a leading man with a leading lady who’s young enough to be his daughter.) The political thriller “State of Play” marks the return of McAdams to a major-studio film, after the actress took a few years off to do small independent films like "Married Life" and "The Lucky Ones".

In "State of Play", McAdams plays Della Frye, a blogger for a newspaper in Washington, D.C. She’s hot on the trail of a scandal involving politician Stephen Collins (played by Ben Affleck), a married congressman exposed for having an affair with a female subordinate who dies mysteriously on a train track. Della often clashes with her co-worker Cal McCaffrey (played by Russell Crowe), an "old school" journalist who happens to be a friend of Stephen’s. Cal also gets involved in the investigation, and the two reporters team up to get to the bottom of the story. McAdams recently talked about "State of Play", why she could never be a journalist in real life and which of her "State of Play" male co-stars she thought was the hottest.

For anyone who hasn’t seen “State of Play,” can you describe your character Della Frye?
It’s definitely her passion. And I think she’s very interested in uncovering the truth. But I also think she’s a product of modern-day journalism... She wants to impress her boss, and she wants to get it right. It’s not about fast results and sexy stories all the time.

Reporters are supposed to stay objective, but what did Della learn from Cal about letting your personal feelings possibly affect your reporting?
He’s teaching her and showing her the ropes and sparking her interest. You do get personally involved, and it does affect your whole life. I think if you’re really worth your salt, the lines do get blurred.

How would you describe the characters of Cal and Della?
Cal is referred to as a "dinosaur" at one point. His computer is 20 years old. He still uses pen and paper. Della, on the other side, is very much online; she’s a blogger. There’s a running gag that she doesn’t ever have a pen handy. Blackberrys, iPhone, all the latest and greatest. So they’re definitely on opposing sides of the same business when they first meet.

There’s a scene in the movie where Della tries to get some information from a source who’s laid up in a hospital bed, and then something shocking happens. Can you talk about that scene and how it affected Della?
I think it shocked her back into reality, in a sense. Suddenly, she was propelled to dig further, and (think), "Wow, this is a really intense story and this is a big break!” It was in that moment that she realized that. But it was also in that moment how she realize dhow dangerous it was and how people’s lives are at stake.
I couldn’t do (that job). I couldn’t sell chocolate almonds (door to door) when I was in eighth grade.

The plot of “State of Play” is kind of elaborate, but can you summarize it?
Their investigating is quite elaborate. Cal’s friend (Stephen Collins) is a famous politician, and his intern has died on the subway tracks.

Why should people who love political thrillers see this movie?
What I’ve been hearing is … that people are appreciating that it’s a smart film and it’s asking the audience to wait for things to appear and reveal themselves. It’s a big jigsaw puzzle.

Which look on a man do you like the most, based on the characters in this movie:

a hard-partying Jason Bateman, a scruffy Russell Crowe or a dapper Ben Affleck?
I’d have to say the tweaking Jason Bateman was pretty hot. (She laughs). Russell and I, our jaws were dropping. Every single take that (Jason) did was incredible.

Jason Bateman is great comic relief in the movie
Yeah, but so beautiful at the end when he was begging for his life and … [his character] was so pathetic and so sad. He was so slimy and so smarmy but at the same time he pulled at your heartstrings.

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