Matthew McConaughey Ready To 'Put Those Leathers On Again' For Awards Season And 'Magic Mike 2'
We at Movieline HQ were quick to cheer when Matthew McConaughey was named Best Supporting Actor by the New York Film Critics Circle for his work in Magic Mike and Bernie. After busying himself with forgettable rom-coms, the uncannily likable Texan has been on a tear, choosing unique projects in which he can strut his unique and undeniable talents. For the first time in his career, he is a genuine contender for an Oscar nomination.
Movieline spoke to the man from the set of Dallas Buyers Club (the film that required him to drop tons of weight, so if the noms don't come this year, he'll be primed for 2014) about awards campaigns, how he's perceived by fans, some of his classic lines and some possible film sequels. Normally we'd take laser focus in pruning our interviews, but with a guy as wonderfully laid back as McConaughey (who announces himself on the phone as "McConaughey") you'd be a fool to ignore all the "man"s.
Before we get to this terrific year, I should let you know I'm on the road and actually in your hometown of Austin and, no joke, in the shadow of a Moon Tower.
Where it all began! Great shadow to be in, man. In Texas, that's the place to be to hang out with your buds and get on a buzz. You gotta get rural on it.
Okay, since we're talking about Dazed and Confused, I mean, you've embraced that role — you named your company after a line from it, right?
Yeah! On the football field when Randall "Pink" Floyd is deciding whether to play football or take a drug test and I say "you gotta just keep living." That was my first film, and a week into it my father passed away. I was dealing with my Dad's death, man. I was trying to figure out how to keep my spiritual relationship with my father. The line came to me. I didn't make it up, but it really helped me deal with the grieving period. When we got into the scene it just came out. From that day on I kept "just keep living" and applied it — because you can apply it to anything! It's a choice. Which choice has the most residuals? Which choice has the most delayed gratification? It's the "just keep living" choice. It works down the road — it works for deciding what you are gonna' have for a meal or how you are gonna' treat yourself or how you're gonna' treat your woman. So I named my company that, and a record company and bumper stickers - I basically branded it on most things I have.
It's clear to me that you are too cool to give a shit about awards.
[Laughs] I love it.
You can't measure art, it's silly, but...
Okay, I'm glad you are going with the "but," because if there is such a thing as being too cool to give a shit about an award like [the New York Film Critics Circle] then I'm not nearly as cool as you think. It's very exciting. Any artist wants to create something that translates, resonates and has a long shelf life. Something people will see, get entertainment from. We were talking about Dazed and Confused, the greatest compliment I get is when people come to me and say, "I know that guy, man! I know him!" He's a character that lives on. People say, "I knew him, his name was Kelly Hernsberg!" So, with Dallas from Magic Mike and also Bernie and Killer Joe, these are characters that, if I can share them in a way that people recognize them and they stick — that is very exciting to me.
Now, look: as far as awards for art goes, with a hundred yard dash, there's a clear winner and there's second and third. It's a science. It's not a science when you are judging art but we'd be remiss to say you can't look at something and say this is more well done than that. I think we have the right, if you are equipped to do so and you are being honest, to judge things, and in that respect I am very honored about getting an award.
So you are ready to dive in, then, and start shaking hands and going into campaign mode with the goal of an Oscar nomination for Magic Mike?
[whistles.] Well, this is brand new for me, I'll tell ya that. I asked myself that question when this was proposed to me just a few weeks ago. My publicist said, look, you are getting some attention for Magic Mike and Warner Bros. is ready to roll a campaign. Do you want to support it, too? And I'm working right now and I think "jeez, how'm I gonna' do that?" But this is one of those "j.k. living" questions. Engage or not engage? And I'm for engaging in some form of everything. Yes.
I love the film. I love the character. I loved the process of making it. Yes. I'd love to go talk about it. I'd much rather talk about acting in the role rather than selling the movie, you know what I mean?
The movie was already a hit, now you can celebrate it.
Exactly. It's a hell of a lot more fun than sitting at the junket and answering questions about the wardrobe or how it was to kiss so-and-so in a movie, right? The hard part is the compartmentalization. I've got the films going and I've got a family going, but I'm not afraid to engage. This movie I'm doing now is extreme, but we found a spot to talk. You and I were going to talk the other day, we couldn't fit it in, so I'm talking to you now, but if we didn't talk now, I wouldn't be in the right space to talk after starting the day, so we worked on it and got a time. I can talk with you in the morning, then I can shut that door and get back to the role, you know?
This is turning into a very meta conversation.
I love that, man, meta dialogue. People say don't talk to yourself, well bullshit. I talk to myself all the time. Just make sure you answer.
There was some chatter about a Magic Mike sequel. Would you be on board if your character was fit in?
You said it. If there's integrity in the script for the character, then yes. I'd love to put those leathers on again. If it's written well, absolutely.
Have there been other films you've done you wish there was a sequel for?
Dazed and Confused: Where Are They Now?. Rick [Linklater] and I have talked about it. It's really fun to talk to Rick and think what Wooderson would be doing now. Nothing's solidified, but it is fun to think about. I say he's got a couple of kids and he's a local DJ. The midnight to six DJ. With a couple of kids at home, probably twins.
I dunno. But he's got twins and a wife and he's THE SAME GUY.
Rick is not afraid to do a sequel when no one expects it. He's got the next Before Sunrise at Sundance this year.
I know it. He snuck off and did it, man. One day I was talking to him and the next day I called him and he was gone. I don't hear from him for three months he calls back, "what's up?" I say, "hey, man, where've you been?" and he says he was in Greece shooting. That's how Rick rolls. But listen, the Dazed and Confused characters are very sacred, it's gotta' be done right.
You are aware that if you mention the name Matthew McConaughey to many people and the first thing out of their mouths will be "all right, all right, all right," right?
"All right, all right, all right." You know the story about that, right? It's classic.
I go to the set for a wardrobe test, I'm not supposed to work that night. I wasn't written in the script, but Rick wonders if Wooderson might be riding around trying to pick up chicks this night. So I get in the car — this is my first scene ever on film — and I'm nervous. So I'm saying to myself "who is my man? who is my man?"
I had been listening to a live album by The Doors and between songs he would bark at the crowd "all right! all right! all right! all right!" Four times. So right before Rick calls action I'm thinking, "Who is my man? What am I about?" And I realize Wooderson is about weed, women, his car and music.
Now I figure I'm high, I'm in my '70s Chevelle, and I'm rockin' out to Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold." And there's the woman I'm gonna go get. So I hear action, and I say "all right, all right, all right." Basically — I got three out of four, and now I'm gonna get the fourth!
And that was the first thing I ever said on film.