PROUDLY PACK­ING A PUNCH

Rachel McA­dams’s film Southpaw has her play­ing another tough role. Michele Manelis finds out what draws her to gritty char­ac­ters

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - MICHELE MANELIS

I’d be a mess,” con­fesses Rachel McA­dams at the thought of dat­ing a boxer. The Cana­dian-born ac­tor is pro­mot­ing her up­com­ing drama Southpaw, in which she por­trays the tough-as-nails wife of a mid­dleweight cham­pion, played by Jake Gyl­len­haal.

Hav­ing to watch one’s sig­nif­i­cant other get beaten up for a liv­ing re­quires a cer­tain kind of courage.

“I don’t know how those women do it. I think it takes in­cred­i­ble strength and a real back­bone,” McA­dams says. “I’d be wor­ry­ing all the time.”

The 36-year-old’s well­doc­u­mented ro­man­tic history in­cludes re­la­tion­ships with fel­low co-stars Ryan Gosling ( The Notebook), Josh Lu­cas ( Morn­ing Glory) and Michael Sheen ( Mid­night in Paris).

And now in Southpaw she shares a pal­pa­ble chem­istry with her cur­rent lead­ing man, Gyl­len­haal. Un­sur­pris­ingly, their friend­ship has sparked ru­mours that they are in­deed an item off-screen. “Oh, no,” she laughs. “We have known each other for years; we’re friends so we al­ready had a foun­da­tion when we started film­ing and then (be­cause of the movie) we spent a lot of time to­gether.”

Cur­rently sin­gle, she is char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally tight-lipped about such mat­ters.

“What am I look­ing for?” she says, re­peat­ing the ques­tion. “The big ones: kind­ness, hu­mour, mal­leabil­ity, a sense of ad­ven­ture.”

For those not well versed in the world of box­ing, Southpaw is a term re­fer­ring to a boxer’s stance. McA­dams took time to learn the ropes and even stepped in­side the ring her­self.

“I think it’s a very se­duc­tive sport and I sup­pose we’re all drawn to the dan­ger as­pect of it,” she says. “I did some box­ing on my own and worked with Jake’s trainer. He took me un­der his wing and although I cer­tainly didn’t need to do that, it was very in­for­ma­tive for my char­ac­ter.

“I also watched Jake box a

Jake Gyl­len­haal and Rachel McA­dams em­brace in a scene from

Southpaw.

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