The “no” book: Rachel McAdams on turning down ‘Iron Man’, ‘Mission: Impossible III’ and more “to stay sane”

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While she’s since become a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with her role as Dr. Christine Palmer in the Doctor Strange films, there was a time Rachel McAdams could have been Iron Man’s Pepper Potts.

But saying no to the role that eventually went to Gwyneth Paltrow was important to preserve “normalcy” after hits like Mean Girls and The Notebook, she tells Bustle.

Ditto declining roles in Mission: Impossible III, The Devil Wears Prada, the James Bond film Casino Royale and Get Smart, also starring Prada’s Anne Hathaway.

McAdams, who is about to star in the adaptation of the beloved Judy Blume book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret., explains she took a two-year break from acting after walking out on what turned out to be a nude 2006 Vanity Fair cover shoot opposite stars Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley.

She explained of her hiatus from the spotlight, “I felt guilty for not capitalizing on the opportunity that I was being given, because I knew I was in such a lucky spot. But I also knew it wasn’t quite jiving with my personality and what I needed to stay sane.”

As for those parts she turned down, the actress admits, “There’s certainly things like ‘I wish I’d done that,"” but adds, “I step back and go, ‘That was the right person for that."”

McAdams added, “There were definitely some anxious moments of wondering if I was just throwing it all away, and why was I doing that? It’s taken years to understand what I intuitively was doing.”

Her role in Margaret, about the titular late bloomer’s mother, Barb, allowed McAdams to hire her sister, Kayleen, to do her makeup, so that the siblings and their children — Rachel has a son and daughter with longtime partner Jamie Linden — could spend time together.

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