How Matthew McConaughey Chooses His Roles

Courtesy of Napa Valley Film Festival

Matthew McConaughey made an appearance at the Napa Valley Film Festival where he was honored during the Caldwell Vineyard Maverick Actor Tribute and screened his new film, Gold.  Before he took the stage in front of a room full of McConaughey fans who enthusiastically screamed “Alright, Alright Alright”, I spoke with the actor who is every bit the man you imagine him to be.  

Was there a moment for you when you realized the “Matthew McConaughey” film became a thing?
“I always feel like I’m on the cast in the film.  Now with success the marketing people will all of the sudden then say, they’ll put up there “Academy Award Winner Matthew McConaughey” with the title or above the title or put my face on the poster, you know what I mean, but when I’m working I never think of it that way.  If I got a chance to get in a role, to use a sports term, I get the ball and run with it.  I like that.

How do you choose your roles?
“One of the first things I’ll do, is I’ll say if I have a selection of 20 films in the theater, which is the first one I want to see movie-wise.  Then I ask myself character-wise, is this someone I can get a point of view of from the inside out where I can take full ownership of the character and feel like I’m the master of my man and the only one who can be doing this?  Even if that’s not true, I have to believe it.  That doesn’t always happen.  Gold was one of three scripts I read where when I read it one time, and I knew I had to do it.  I almost lost it, it went away to another actor and I couldn’t sleep at night.  That was a great signifier where “you have got to do this thing”.  Luckily, it came back to me and then we were off to the races, but I want to try to get to that point where I feel like I’m the only guy who can do it, and sometimes I’ve got to work my way into understanding that.”

Has there been one role that has personally affected you more than the others?
“I mean they’re all different personal experiences.  That’s what I’m going for: a personal experience.  I want to have an adventure and an experience making it, forget what the result is going to be. Now if I can have the experience in making of it, which is my favorite part of what I do, no one can take that from me whether it succeeds or doesn’t.  There are things like We Are Marshall, I have a connection to that town of Huntington, WV now because that was in their bloodline, we were helping them to get over something and that has it own tingles in my heart and my gut.  This one, Gold, has a lot of who my dad was in this and the people I met with him on the road going around trying to collect money.  I met these people who are just hustlers at the bottom of the barrel who do not have a front door entrance to the American dream. They have to finagle their way in the side door, the back door, hustle it, get lucky along the way, man, and get up every morning going maybe today will be the day—and it’s not.  Get up the next day—maybe today will be the day, no it’s not.  Kenny Wells was one of those guys, most people would have quit or given in or gone bankrupt, and he didn’t and just couldn’t.”
Gold hits theaters December 25th, 2016.

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