Matthew McConaughey offered up some honest opinions and advice during A Conversation with Matthew McConaughey at SXSW. He came this year because of his film Mud which premiered there. McConaughey spoke about the film but also discussed his acting career, the film industry and his foundation, just keep livin. Scott Foundas of the Village Voice moderated the panel.
Most Texans remember Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused when Matthew erupted onto the scene as David Wooderson.
McConaughey spoke at length about that experience and his rise to fame. He used Wooderson as an example of how he gets into character specifically referencing the line “I get older, they stay the same age” as the hook that helped him find the identity of that particular character. He always looks for the personality in his lines more than the thoughts of others about the character. Additionally, once he does get into the character, he writes a lot about them on his own to find his interpretation of the script.
Recently, Matthew decided to shift gears somewhat and transition into other film roles rather than the romantic comedy genre for which he was known. He was looking for a challenge and something to involve himself in more and so started to say no to a lot of those he was being asked to do. Eventually, he received pitches for a different kind of film, many of them independents. Mud, represents an example of the new type of film he is making. Scott described McConaughey’s character as a “modern Peter Pan” and they agreed that there is a certain innocence to the character. He originally liked the script because it stayed true to all its characters and their intentions.
McConaughey also explained that he has decided to focus in on what is truly important to him: family, his foundation and acting. With that in mind, he has closed his production company and is now “an actor for hire” working mostly on other people’s films. His next two projects are Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf of Wall Street, the first of which he had to lose 40 pounds for and did so before they even had the funding to shoot. His foundation, just keep livin, works to help children in Title I schools, which are typically attended by low income families, through after school programs. They offer fitness and wellness classes like nutrition on a budget so students can take an active role in their own health. Additionally, they focus on bringing in guest speakers who sometimes speak to what it is like to make poor choices because they have done so in the past. The foundation teaches concepts such as delayed gratification and encourages setting short term goals while sticking to fundamental principles. All in all, Matthew McConaughey was a joy to listen to and contributed a fun and worthwhile talk to SXSW.