Celeb Spotlight: Rachel McAdams

Age: 28

Hometown: St. Thomas, Ontario

Current gig: Playing Owen Wilson’s love interest in the comedy Wedding Crashers

She’s never been an uninvited guest

Although she’s starring in a movie about two lotharios (Wilson and Vince Vaughn) who sneak into weddings to pick up women, McAdams has never crashed a wedding. “We thought about it when we were shooting,” she tells PEOPLE. “We were out in Maryland staying at this beautiful hotel and there was a wedding on the grounds. We were kind of jealous and we thought, ‘You know, we could say it was research.’ But we chickened out.”

So what about her own wedding dreams? The actress, who doesn’t discuss her dating life, will probably forgo the Vera Wang gown and lavish reception. “I would rather keep it quiet and cheap,” she says. “I’d rather spend the money on the honeymoon.”

She was almost a star on ice

McAdams first laced up her skates when she was 4, and the years she spent as a competitive figure skater have worked in her favor as an actress. “Doing a sport totally helps you,” she said recently. “It’s great for your work ethic, and I love doing physical work as an actor because I’ve really become in tune with my body.”

Acting was also an early passion. “I wanted to get into it as a little kid and my parents were like, ‘Maybe later,'” she says. “A theater company came to town and I begged my mom to let me do it and then I started there.” After high school, she enrolled in the theater program at Toronto’s York University, and acting gigs, including a role in the 2002 comedy The Hot Chick, followed soon after graduation.

She’s the queen of the double bill

Her real breakthrough was last year’s one-two punch of the teen comedy Mean Girls and the romantic tearjerker The Notebook. “(Those movies) were so different, and I got to show some range,” she says. “It’s the combination that helps me to be considered for all different kinds of movies.”

This summer, she’s again pulling double duty: After Wedding Crashers, she’ll star in the Wes Craven-directed thriller Red Eye, due Aug. 19. The movie, in which she plays an airplane passenger abducted by Batman Begins’s Cillian Murphy, was particularly claustrophobic to shoot. “When I first got on there I was like, ‘I’m going to go insane. I’m going to go insane,’ ” she says. “(But) after a month I was like sitting on the plane, buckling up, getting ready to get terrorized and it was all in a day’s work.”

She likes to escape the spotlight

Even though she took home the MTV Movie Award for breakthrough female in June, McAdams has no desire to live in the limelight like her Mean Girls costar, Lindsay Lohan. To stay grounded, she’s avoided moving to L.A. “Toronto is home and it suits me,” says McAdams, who’s still tight with parents Lance and Sandy and siblings Kayleen and Daniel. “It’s good to step away from the business when I’m not working and ride my bike and garden. It just keeps me centered.”

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