The Evolution of Rachel McAdams: From ‘Mean Girls’ to ‘Game Night’ (Photos)

Rachel McAdams has played everything from the bitchy prom queen in “Mean Girls” to the studious and cutthroat journalist in “Spotlight,” demonstrating range as a dramatic actress and comedienne. This week she stars in the R-rated comedy “Game Night” alongside Jason Bateman. Maybe “Fetch” was never going to happen, but looking back at her career, you knew McAdams would eventually hit it big. 


“The Famous Jett Jackson”Cute little Rachel McAdams got her break playing a guest role on the Disney Channel show “The Famous Jett Jackson.”

Paramount Pictures

“Mean Girls”  She then showed her darker side and terrified us as queen bee Regina George in the 2004 comedy “Mean Girls.” 

New Line Cinema

“The Notebook”  Pull out the Kleenex! McAdams and Ryan Gosling stole our hearts in the epic 2004 tearjerker “The Notebook,” based on a Nicholas Sparks novel.

New Line Cinema

“Wedding Crashers”  McAdams came along for the raunchy ride with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in 2005’s hit comedy “Wedding Crashers.” 


“The Lucky Ones”   McAdams played a soldier returning from war alongside Tim Robbins in 2008’s “The Lucky Ones.”

Warner Bros

“Sherlock Holmes”  McAdams made a turn toward mainstream franchises, playing a professional thief in 2009’s “Sherlock Holmes” with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. 

Sony Pictures Classics

“Midnight in Paris”  McAdams teamed up with Owen Wilson (again) and Woody Allen for the 2011 Oscar winner “Midnight in Paris,” kicking off a stretch of prestige films in which she worked with auteur director such as Terrence Malick on “To the Wonder,” Brian de Palma on “Passion” and Wim Wenders on “Every Thing Will Be Fine.”  

Roadside Attractions

“A Most Wanted Man”  The actress co-starred with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his last roles in 2014’s “A Most Wanted Man,” directed by Anton Corbijn. 

Sony Pictures

“Aloha”  McAdams put on a lei and a hula dress to join Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone in the 2015 Hawaiian-based misfire.


“True Detective”  McAdams plays a detective with strong morals struggling in a corrupt system in Season 2 of HBO’s “True Detective.”

Open Road Films

“Spotlight”  McAdams would be nominated for her first Oscar for portraying Boston Globe journalist Sacha Pfeiffer in the Best Picture-winning “Spotlight.” 


“Doctor Strange”  McAdams made her superhero movie debut in 2016, starring as a surgeon opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in the Marvel film “Doctor Strange.”

New Line Cinema

“Game Night”  McAdams returned to her comedic roots in 2018 with “Game Night,” starring with Jason Bateman as a couple that hosts a game night with friends that goes violently, and hilariously, wrong. 

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