LOS ANGELES – Comedies are extremely liberating experiences for actors, Rachel McAdams told EFE ahead of Friday’s release on Netflix of the parody film “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.”
The 41-year-old Canadian actress is best known for her roles in the 2004 romantic drama “The Notebook” and the 2015 biographical drama film “Spotlight,” for which she received an Oscar nomination in the best supporting actress category.
But she spoke to EFE about the unique challenge and on-set atmosphere the cast members face when filming a comedy.
“I mean it’s incredibly freeing. You kind of can’t hold back, and it’s like a muscle you start to exercise where you just come to work every day and you know you’re just going to leave it all out there,” McAdams said.
“And you’ll probably fall on your face a few times, and that’s all just part of it. That’s part of the work. So yeah, I found it really liberating.”
Her latest foray into that genre, in which McAdams worked once again with director David Dobkin (2005’s “Wedding Crashers”), is a spoof of the over-the-top spectacle that is the annual Eurovision Song Contest.
She and American actor Will Ferrell, also one of the film’s producers and writers, portray a pair of inseparable and eccentric Icelandic friends – Sigrit Ericksdottir and Lars Erickssong, members of the duo “Fire Saga” – who dream of one day representing their small, frigid country in Eurovision.
McAdams accepted the role despite knowing next to nothing about that yearly international song competition.
“Being Canadian, I’d sort of been in the dark. And my first real experience with it was going to Eurovision for research with Netflix and going to Tel Aviv last year and getting to actually stand in those crowds, watch the numbers come in and the votes and feel the electricity in the room and the electricity in Tel Aviv in general,” she said.
“All the Eurovision songs are playing on the radio in the cars and everybody’s got their favorite pick, so it’s really such a great event that brings so many people together,” McAdams said.
One of the film’s secondary characters is Alexander Lemtov, a quirky, talented and egotistical Russian singer who is brought to life by Dan Stevens.
The English actor, best known for playing a solicitor in the British historical drama television series “Downton Abbey” and the Beast in the 2017 film “Beauty and the Beast,” told EFE that Eurovision should be commended for being a welcoming space for the LGBTQ community.
“It’s really one of the important things to remember and to be celebrated about Eurovision. For all of its bizarreness, and what a sort of weird and wonderful pageant it is, it’s long been a safe haven for LGBTQ performers and for fans. It has a huge following all over the world for that reason,” Stevens said.
“I think it’s really important to recognize that and also to remember that there are many countries … like Russia, and Chechnya in particular, where inexplicably it’s still very dangerous to openly acknowledge your sexuality,” Stevens said. “So it’s a wonderful thing to remember that Eurovision celebrates that, and it’s a huge badge of pride for the competition, I think.”