Renaissance Man Shares Stories, Insights, and Humor
When daydreaming about the most interesting individual to have a conversation with, Matthew McConaughey comes to mind for many. The Academy Award-winning actor has a charming easiness about him, and his abundance of catchphrases transcend the most popular “alright, alright, alright.”
Dave Bateman, chief executive officer for Entrata, recently had the opportunity for that coveted conversation with McConaughey and was able to share it with the apartment world in Episode 4 of Entrata Connect.
McConaughey, who has many other undertakings in addition to his acting career, recently added author to his list of endeavors. His just-released book Greenlights is an unconventional memoir with candid stories and a rundown of various successes and failures.
Among the topics discussed in the engaging interview with Bateman:
How his first acting gig, Dazed and Confused, came about in 1993
“I didn’t have a theater background. I was interested in performing but I just couldn’t admit it at that time,” McConaughey said. “But now when I look back at my diaries from a year before I got this first acting role, I was like ‘oh, you did want to perform in front of the camera. You just wouldn’t admit it.’”
McConaughey was studying film production at the University of Texas at the time, and went to visit a classmate who bartended in the summer. The classmate introduced McConaughey to a producer who was also at the bar. Although the two ended up being kicked out later that night, they connected and McConaughey eventually landed the role.
Still not convinced
McConaughey perceived his minor but memorable role in Dazed and Confused as a one-time acting thing but still had ambitions of being in the business side of film. After graduating from Texas in 1993, he moved to Hollywood for a production assistant job.
“The movie that I had the production assistant job on got pushed six months, so all of a sudden I didn’t have that job,” he said. “That’s when I went out and got an agent, and I got my first two auditions. They were for Boys on the Side and Angels in the Outfield.”
McConaughey said that because he landed his first two auditions, he “doesn’t have that story of having to grovel and work my way up. I actually got the first two jobs I auditioned for, loved it, and this is it 28 years later.”
What gives a person “magic” in front of the camera?
“I think it’s the competence and ability to just behave naturally in front of the camera,” he said. “All of our (tension) goes up when we’re in front of the camera, or there’s a Take 2 and you know it’s being recorded. You start to feel like ‘I’ve really got to be on right now’ and you can overact. It happens in life, too.”
McConaughey said that it’s easier said than done, but it’s his goal to know his character so well that he could be blindfolded and put anywhere and still maintain the charismatic vibe of the particular character.
How A Time to Kill transformed him from typecast character to in-demand actor
“People who I knew and trusted told me, ‘This is going to change your whole life and your whole career,’” he said. ‘”You’re about to get amazing opportunities. You’re about to be in.’ They had seen the film, there was press behind it leading up to its release and they were betting on it being a success.”
McConaughey knew that no matter how deftly he acted in A Time to Kill, box-office success would be the ultimate determining factor. After it fared well, he went on to play various roles, most notably in romantic comedies. He eventually grew tired of those types of roles and decided to take a breather. That time away from film worked to essentially rebrand him, or as he puts it, “unbrand” him. Roles such as his character in True Detective now provide the challenge he’s seeking later in his career.
Additional topics of discussion included good exhaustion vs. bad exhaustion, acting vs. producing, his roles as minister of culture at various institutions, acting structure philosophies and a Q & A with clients.