Matthew McConaughey is on a roll. Over the last 12 months, he’s appeared in four indie flicks — “Magic Mike,” “Bernie,” “Killer Joe” and “The Paperboy” — that received high praise from both critics and audiences. Now, he is back at it again, promoting his newest film “Mud” at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT.
While he was there, Moviefone got to sit down with the actor, who expressed happiness over his successful 2012. He was also very appreciative of all the audience support he’s gotten in the last year.
Of course, this McConaughey is a far cry from the man we saw in cheesy romantic fluff like “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” and “The Wedding Planner.” Will this critical success continue? It’s a good possibility, especially if you look at what’s ahead for McConaughey in the coming year. In addition to “Mud,” 2013 will see the actor star in three other major movies: Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Simon West’s “Thunder Run,” and Jean-Marc Vallee’s “The Dallas Buyers Club.” It’s the latter performance, based on a true story, that has already gotten the most attention, with McConaughey losing 30 pounds to portray a man who, after testing HIV positive, began smuggling anti-viral medications into the states for himself and others suffering from the disease.
Ahead, we count down the 11 best things the 43-year-old Texas native told us at Sundance.
On the number of movies he released in 2012
“I am just glad ‘Mud’ is coming out this year, because that was enough for last year, as far as releasing goes.”
On the way his titular character speaks in “Mud”
“Mud’s poetry, it’s not just all Southern. There was a lot of superstitious speak. For Mud, his logic was astral. It was signs. Here’s a guy who’s been stepping in sh*t for so long, he thinks it’s good luck to step in sh*t now. And here’s a guy who doesn’t live in the logical world — he lives in the clouds.”
On the way his “Mud” character acts
“He’s an aristocrat of the heart: the river prince, the personal politics that he’s put together through signs and smells and things along the way are his code for chivalry. And in that way, he is that chivalrous knight in shining armor. But, he’s just a capital D dreamer, and just stays there.”
On how getting grimy helped him prepare for his “Mud” role
“It helps because you get an extra hour of sleep not showering. And when you’re camping out on the Mississippi River, which we were, I could come in after a day’s work, lightly set the dirty clothes down and get in bed — I’d brush my teeth, I tried to do that — and then get up five minutes before we it was time to go to work and walk right out of the set.”
On whether he showered at all while filming “Mud”
“Occasionally. Don’t make that the headline [laughs]”
On embracing his recent critical scucess
“I don’t want to separate myself at all. I want to embrace all of it and discern it on my own which stuff is valid. Like any good critic, you can get some good news and some bad news, but you can get some really valid stuff from constructive criticism.”
On audiences understanding his recent performances
“What I was happiest about, was I had certain things I wanted to do, I wrote certain things down that I wanted to do. I always keep a diary. Figuring out who the guy is, da da da da. And on this run, I had people coming up to me saying, “You know what I like about this guy? It’s ba ba ba ba ba.” It’s like they had my diary. They saw what I wrote two years ago. And I am like [hits table] it’s translation!”
On dissecting his performances
“I have never done this whole thing with awards shows. So let’s go embrace this and learn. Let’s dissect what worked. Let’s dissect the positives. We as people don’t do that. We dissect failure a lot more than we dissect success. We should spend more time dissecting success and go <em>Why was I happier in that time of my life? Why did my work translate there?</em> As well as dissecting the other and going <em>Where did I miss? What didn’t translate?</em> Sometimes that’s your fault and sometime’s it’s not.”
On not getting nominated for an Oscar
“Somebody wrote me the first time I didn’t get nominated for something, and said ‘Sorry.’ I was like, I am going to say this one time: Be happy if we do get nominated, but no sorrys if we don’t. It’s all a bonus. The work’s done.”
On his love of acting
“The characters I play have obsessions, and I love just catching a fever on those obsessions. Just getting drunk obessions. That’s idealism. That’s what’s wonderful time travel.”
On the positives of promoting a film like “Mud” at an indie festival
“I am not selling the movie yet. It speaks for itself. I didn’t have to go and sell the thing. It wasn’t like a junket. It’s done. There it is. I could sit here and not say a word and you can say ‘Jesus the guy didn’t say two words.’ But you still got your opinion on the movie you can write about. So it’s perceiving me. I am not perceiving it, going [picks up couch pillow] ‘You ready? You ready? Because here I am going to hand it to ya.’ Now, I could recreate it for you or paint a picture, but you’ve seen it. And they have the films that have real identities and the directors have real vision and the stories have real i-den-ti-ties.”