22 years and 9 million ab crunches later Matthew McConaughey is still anything but dull.
By Paul Salfen
Matthew McConaughey is having a banner year. Twenty years after breaking out in Richard Linklater’s now-classic indie film Dazed and Confused, the 44-year-old Texas native is getting into some of his best roles to date, with three films that have some strong Oscar buzz right now: Mud, The Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club.
McConaughey’s strongest chance for an Academy Award, though, comes from Dallas Buyers Club, the touching true story of electrician and rodeo bull rider Ron Woodruff, who, in 1985, finds out that he has HIV and is given 30 days to live. He refuses to give up and through his own research, starts to treat himself and others, battling the Food and Drug Administration the entire way.
McConaughey sat down at the Toronto International Film Festival to discuss losing an alarming 50 pounds for the role, his great year and his “Hail Mary” moment.
Blitz Weekly: This has been a great year for you. In fact, in the last couple of years you’ve had some of
your best roles yet.
Matthew McConaughey: It’s a wonderful time, man, and I’m enjoying the work more than I ever have. I’m getting an experience from the roles and an experience from making the movies, which has always been my favorite thing to do. I always like making the movies more than I like watching them. But this one I quite enjoyed watching. It was hard to make, so there’s a team of us that know what we had to go through to get it made and now we get to share it.
And talk about a transformation – it’s one thing to lose weight for a role, but to lose 50 pounds? That’s crazy. What was that like?
Part of the fun is what we get to do as actors – when you get a role that actually needs that. I wouldn’t want to do it just for eccentricity’s sake because the character didn’t need it but this character needed it so it was a pleasure to do it. It wasn’t as hard as people made it out to be. I did it the safest way possible. The body is much more resilient than we give it credit for and it was what the role needed – and it was fun. As an actor, you look for something you can singularly grab ahold of and focus and commit to for six months or whatever, that’s fun.
It’s probably easier to gain it back than it is to lose it, right?
It’s more fun to gain it back but it’s not as safe to gain back. That first cheeseburger – and the wheat and gluten in the bread kind of kicked back at me hard, yeah. [Smiles]
On The Drew Pearson Show, we ask everyone for their “Hail Mary” moment. What do you suppose
that was for you?
Oh, The Hail Mary. Ooooh. I remember talking to (director) Joel Schumacher about ’95 and I was talking to him about a much smaller role for a film called A Time To Kill and our meeting was about over – and it was good, but I said, “who’s playing the lead role, that Jake Brigance?” and he goes, “I don’t know. We haven’t cast it yet. Who do you think should?” And I remember saying, “I think I should.” And he started laughing and said, “It’s a great idea but it’ll never happen. The studio won’t pay for it.” But it stuck in his mind and he called me back and I had a screen test about two months later. And it worked out. But if I wouldn’t have thrown that Hail Mary right there – I don’t know. I might not be sitting here right now.
McConaugheyisms: Learn From The Master
• Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius.
• Lately he has been writing bits of rap songs.
• Life is a series of commas, not periods.
• I love having my hands in dirt.
• My favorite thing to do between working is go drive around the roads and highways camping out.
• There are certain nights you and your image aren’t in the same bed.
“Dallas Buyers Club” is in theaters now.
Paul Salfen is the co-host for the “Drew Pearson Show” on FOX Sports and also co-hosts The ANE Show on