There Was Only One Way to Go. and That Was Up; INTERVIEW Big Screen Matthew McConaughey Started the Year with an Oscar and Ends It as the Lead in One of Cinema's Most Ambitious Movies. Alison Jones Chats to THETEXAN about Reaching for the Stars

The Birmingham Post (England), November 6, 2014 | Go to article overview

There Was Only One Way to Go. and That Was Up; INTERVIEW Big Screen Matthew McConaughey Started the Year with an Oscar and Ends It as the Lead in One of Cinema's Most Ambitious Movies. Alison Jones Chats to THETEXAN about Reaching for the Stars


Byline: Matthew McConaughey

IN Matthew McConaughey's latest film, Interstellar, his character's experiences could be seen as a metaphor for his own career.

A once bright future has been diverted into something he's good at but which is not really worthy of his talents - until he is given an unexpected second chance.

In Interstellar, grounded astronaut turned reluctant farmer Cooper (McConaughey) may be the last hope for a dying world when he is called back to the pilot seat and tasked with finding out what lies on the other side of a space wormhole.

After a blistering start in the 90s with Dazed and Confused, A Time to Kill and Lone Star, McConaughey got bogged down in romcoms and lack lustre action adventures during the noughties, coasting through on his looks and inherent Texan charm.

He was in danger of becoming better known for having once been arrested for playing the bongos in the buff rather than his resume of quality roles.

Eventually McConaughey called a halt to the typecasting and took time to "recalibrate", saying no to the type of beefcake work he had been doing in the hopes that dramatically meatier fare might come his way.

It did...Eventually.

"I knew work was going to dry up for a while," he said in an interview earlier this year. "I still said no.

"At two years, all of a sudden, in my opinion, I became a new good idea for some good directors."

Magic Mike for Steven Soderbergh, Bernie for Richard Linklater, Killer Joe for William Friedkin, Mud for Jeff Nichols and the benchmark setting TV series True Detective were the roles that helped redefine him.

The Lincoln Lawyer was a welcome hark back to the early promise of A Time To Kill and the days when he was being compared to a young Paul Newman.

But the part that had everyone seeing him in a new light was as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club.

McConaughey shed the millstone of his looks along with more than three stone that he couldn't afford to lose as the AIDS-stricken rodeo cowboy fighting the FDA for a better way to treat the disease.

He won this year's Best Actor Oscar that Leonardo DiCaprio might have thought was in the bag for The Wolf of Wall Street. The fact McConaughey also hijacked scenes in that with a cameo as Leo's chest thumping mentor, rubbed it in just a little more.

After that "there was only one to go and that was up, into space and with the weight," says McConaughey.

Being father ''restored certain "The catering (on Interstellar) was excellent!" Those lost pounds have left their mark on the actor, who at 44 is lean as a whip, all high cheekbones and laughter lines round deep set blue eyes.

of Interstellar's director, Christopher Nolan, said McConaughey was his only choice for grounded fly boy Cooper.

"He embodies everything we were looking for," he enthused. "The spirit of adventure, a cowboy-like swagger and the warmth of somebody involved with his family first and foremost."

It is the relationship the widowed Cooper has with his two children, particularly his daughter, Murphy, whom he must leave behind, possibly forever, that will have the dads in the audience clutching their kids to them.

a has McConaughey, who has three children with his wife Camila Alves - son Levi, six, daughter Vida, three, and two-year-old son Livingston - certainly felt that emotional tug.

a sense "I was fortunate. I had my family there with me, all set up in trailers so they were right there on the set.

Matthew McConaughey "The greatest way for me to go to set each day was saying goodbye to my kids and then, at the end of the day, to come back home to them and have that immediacy.

"Not a phone call, not 'I'll see you in a few weeks'."

Being a father has, he says "restored a certain sense of wonder" in him.

"I am a very logical guy and, as anybody who has kids knows, kids think logic is a bunch of baloney. …

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