A Conversation With Matthew McConaughey

Austin's leading man regales the crowd with stories ... sort of

Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey (Photo by Will van Overbeek)

SXSW Film Conference Quick Cuts

A Conversation With Matthew McConaughey

Sunday, March 10, Vimeo

Austin's legendary leading man shone on Sunday afternoon in an interview and Q&A moderated by The Village Voice's chief film critic, Scott Foundas. Always the consummate professional, McConaughey was crisp and breezy, genuine and romantic, and never overly sentimental.

McConaughey was consistently engaging, but the conversation was at its best when the actor focused on method and craft. One memorable yarn came after Foundas showed a crowd-pleasing clip of the beloved Wooderson character from Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused. McConaughey vividly recounted how he drew inspiration for the role from a reconstructed and idealized childhood hero – his brother Pat at 17. McConaughey described his enchantment with his brother's cool-guy attitude, clandestine drinking and smoking, and badass Z28 with "the best sound system in the world." The crowd particularly enjoyed McConaughey regaling his mother (who was watching from the front row) with "I never told you this" stories about his brother stashing Budweiser tallboys and throwing parties while the folks were out of town. Another standout moment was McConaughey's response during the Q&A about preparing for "sociopath" roles such as Joe Cooper in last year's chilling Killer Joe. After some insightful remarks about how he built the character around the idea of "order" – imposed at times through terrible violence – McConaughey offered just the right touch of leading-man mystery. "This is one of those 'I can't tell you' answers ... and there are some things that I've done that I won't mention," he said, beaming.

The interview portion closed with questions on McConaughey's work in Jeff Nichols' Mud, a Palme d'Or contender at Cannes that played at the Paramount on Sunday afternoon. McConaughey spoke candidly about his transition away from romantic comedies and familiar roles and toward more challenging work. Judging by his banner year in 2012, it's clear the strategy has paid off, and the crowd's response reinforced that his reputation as a sharp, charismatic, and down-to-earth leading man is well-deserved.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. For scheduling on the go, here's a SXSW Film Pocket Guide, which includes the handy Film Grid. Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters/ for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

More Matthew McConaughey
Texas Two-Step
Texas Two-Step
Richard Linklater and Matthew McConaughey on their true-crime comedy, 'Bernie'

Marjorie Baumgarten, April 27, 2012

More Screens Reviews
Stream Analysis
Stream Analysis
Dispatches from the couch

Josh Kupecki, Oct. 20, 2017

My Obsession: <i>The Carmichael Show</i>
My Obsession: The Carmichael Show
Pushing boundaries with NBC’s sitcom

Kahron Spearman, June 23, 2017

More by Patrick Courtney
Catching Up With Jerry Ferrara
Catching Up With Jerry Ferrara
The 'Entourage' co-star has a host of new projects on his plate

Nov. 2, 2013

Low Lighting
Low Lighting
Soderbergh flickers into retirement with 'Behind the Candelabra'

May 24, 2013


Matthew McConaughey, SXSW, Dazed and Confused, Joe Cooper, Killer Joe, Richard Linklater, Jeff Nichols, Mud, Palme d'Or, Cannes, Paramount Theatre

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)