The age of McConaissance

Published: October 24, 2014
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McConaughey said his most exciting and challenging role is being a father to his three children with his Brazilian wife, model Camila Alves. PHOTOS: FILE

McConaughey said his most exciting and challenging role is being a father to his three children with his Brazilian wife, model Camila Alves. PHOTOS: FILE

TEXAS: Matthew McConaughey’s upcoming film about a journey beyond the stars may as well be about his own stratospheric career these days. From winning the Best Actor Oscar this year for Dallas Buyers Club to his role in the highly-anticipated space-exploration drama Interstellar, McConaughey has rocketed to a level of stardom unlike anything he said he has ever experienced before. And he loves it.

“I’m enjoying my career now more than ever,” he said during a preview screening for military families at Fort Hood Army base, a few hours away from his ranch in Central Texas. The actor, 44, takes the lead in Interstellar, out in theatres on November 7, the latest film by Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan, which McConaughey called “as enormous as anything that has been put on the screen.” “It has got questions that we can talk about until the end of time,” he said.

McConaughey plays Cooper, a widowed father and former pilot grounded by his own circumstances, the defunding of space exploration, and other grim developments leading to the Earth’s fast-approaching demise. Cooper is then called upon to head deep into outer space to find a new galaxy for humanity to call home, but he faces leaving his family to pursue mankind’s salvation. “And there’s no return ticket,” McConaughey shared. “That’s a hell of a question. That’s as hard as it can get.”

Cooper’s everyman status puts him in contrast with McConaughey’s recent collection of antiheroes living on the fringe in movies, such as Mud and HBO’s crime drama series True Detective. Playing homophobic AIDS sufferer Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club earned the actor a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award.

Once pigeonholed into playing goofy hotshot characters in action movies and romantic comedies, McConaughey’s turn towards grittier dramatic roles has been dubbed the ‘McConaissance’, a change that he attributes to being more settled and mature in his personal life. “The target draws the arrow,” he said, wearing a trucker hat he designed that reads ‘Alright’ and ‘Just keep living’, a nod to his now-iconic Oscar speech. “I think I’m drawing things that are right for me, right now.”

McConaughey is being drawn back to his lighter roots, saying he is currently conceptualising his own comedy. The actor betrays nothing else but a sly grin about the “comedy up [his] sleeve.”

He said his most exciting and challenging role is being a father to his three young children with his Brazilian wife, model Camila Alves. “It’s a brand new movie every day,” he added with a laugh.

His decision to star in Interstellar was inspired by his oldest, six-year-old Levi, who wants to invent a spacesuit that will let him walk on the sun. “I’m really focused on what I’m doing day to day, in work and personally,” he said. “I’m happy to be able to say that. It’s not guaranteed, for sure,” he added. 

Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2014.

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