Matthew McConaughey accepts the American Cinematheque Award with Vida Alves McConaughey onstage at the 28th American Cinematheque Award honoring Matthew McConaughey at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 21, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.
The American Cinematheque kept the McConaissance rolling Tuesday night, giving Matthew McConaughey its 28th American Cinematheque Award in an evening that celebrated the 44-year-old actor’s career, his eccentricities and the loyalty and love he shows to his family and friends.
“Matthew’s motto is ‘just keep livin’,’ and to that I say, ‘We’re trying, but it’s hard to find the time when we’re giving you an award every two weeks,'” host and friend Jimmy Kimmel joked during an evening that felt like a victory lap some seven months after McConaughey won the lead actor Oscar for “Dallas Buyers Club.”
A parade of McConaughey’s costars, past (Kate Hudson, Reese Witherspoon) and present (Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway from next month’s sci-fi epic “Interstellar”) introduced loosely themed clip packages of the 22 years he has spent acting. There were also videotaped well-wishers, including director Richard Linklater, who gave McConaughey his first signature role in “Dazed and Confused,” and Sandra Bullock, who recited a poem she wrote that boasted many memorable stanzas, including: “Thank you for your friendship, your loyalty and your trust / And thank you for reminding me it’s OK to have a smaller bust.”
McConaughey, seated with his wife, Camila Alves, two of their three children and his mother, Mary, seemed to thoroughly enjoy every aspect of the benefit gala for the nonprofit Cinematheque, frequently raising a bottle of beer (his table was well-stocked) to a presenter.
You know what we love about Matthew McConaughey? We keep getting older, and he just stays the same age (at least in spirit) even as he glides with Woodersonian ease into act three of a career that somehow feels like it’s just getting started.
Brothers and sisters, behold the fruits of the McConaissance. The man himself is sitting in the back of a black chauffeured Mercedes-Benz, gliding effortlessly down the 405, relaxed, legs akimbo, wearing boots, gray jeans, a white V-neck, and sunglasses. On one knee is balanced a bottle of kombucha, the flavor of which, when combined with the packet of chewing tobacco tucked into his lower lip, can only be guessed at. On the other, there’s a brown leather journal with a turquoise clasp—a place to record stray thoughts, doodles, visual diagrams of future roles, and whatever else pops into his head.
“A man should always have his diary on him,” Matthew McConaughey says, grinning, borrowing from Oscar Wilde. “That way he’s guaranteed to always have something incredible to read.”
The car is bearing McConaughey from Los Angeles to San Diego, where he will make a surprise appearance at Comic-Con on behalf of Interstellar, the dimension-bending Christopher Nolan epic he stars in this month. Afterward he and his family will board a private plane for Massachusetts, where he will shoot Gus Van Sant’s latest, The Sea of Trees. Both are the kind of role McConaughey wouldn’t have sniffed only a few years ago. The story of this transformation is repeated so often it’s taken on the quality of an American parable: Preternaturally talented young man gets lost in a maze of easy, interchangeable romantic comedies before suddenly seeing the light and getting serious. An Oscar, Emmy nominations, a whole new status follow. Lo, he is risen.
The first sign that perhaps the story isn’t quite so simple may have come in McConaughey’s Oscar speech for Dallas Buyers Club, in every way the kind of Very Serious Movie designed to breed smug and sentimental showboating. Instead, it was old-school McConaughey—part flirt, part hippie preacher, all brash and cheerful self-regard. So much for killing the past. We even got an “All right, all right, all right.”
In person, it’s easy to feel that McConaughey contains if not multitudes, then at least enough facets to defy easy categorization. He’s a joyful talker with a gift for conversation that is much like his gift for acting: a talent for being extraordinarily present and engaged, no matter how banal or repetitive the circumstances. Credit that for the fact that, at any given moment, at least one of those supposedly disposable romantic comedies is airing somewhere in the cable universe. And for the fact that he’s more than game to kick the tires of the Parable of McConaughey to see what’s true, what’s false, and what lies in between.
After he plumbed the direst depths of Gotham City in his “Dark Knight” trilogy and traversed multiple levels of consciousness in “Inception,” it seems the only place the filmmaker Christopher Nolan could go next was outer space. In his latest feature, “Interstellar,” an intrepid shuttle team slips the surly bonds of earth to search for wormholes, black holes and planets beyond our galaxy; at the same time, the film is closely concerned with the pale blue dot the crew came from, which is rapidly becoming inhospitable to human life.
The starry cast features the newly minted Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “True Detective”) as Cooper, a farmer and pilot tasked with ensuring humanity’s future; Anne Hathaway (an Oscar winner for “Les Misérables” and a co-star of Mr. Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises”) as Brand, a fellow explorer; and Jessica Chastain (an Oscar nominee for “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Help”) as Murph, Cooper’s earthbound astrophysicist daughter. Audiences can see exactly how these celestial bodies align when Paramount Pictures opens “Interstellar” (which cost a reported $160 million) in Imax and other film formats on Nov. 5, and in wider release on Nov. 7.
Two years ago, Christopher Nolan sat down with an unlikely collaborator on a new project. The collaborator was Kip Thorne, one of the most renowned theoretical physicists of the modern era — and also, improbably, the executive producer of the film Nolan badly wanted to direct.
The script, initially written by Nolan’s younger brother Jonathan (known as Jonah), was Interstellar. And over the following months and years, the two men — one, a daring director whose last seven movies, including Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy, grossed a collective $3.55 billion worldwide; the other, a pioneering scientist who specialized in such arcana as black holes, singularities and event horizons — would embark on an intellectual exploration as Nolan, 44, repeatedly met with Thorne, 74, to kick around ideas about time, space and the time-space continuum. In the process, they explored everything from questions about wormholes to whether it might be possible to go faster than the speed of light.
The result of all this work is an audacious, two-hour-and-47-minute drama that cost $165 million to make (Paramount, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures split the budget; Paramount will release the film in the U.S., Warners will handle international) and is expected to contend in the best picture Oscar race. Interstellar opens Nov. 5 and follows more in the vein of mind-bending science fiction classics such as 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey than 1977’s Star Wars — both Nolan favorites.
Reworking Jonah’s script (originally written for Steven Spielberg to direct), Nolan refined the story of four astronauts who embark on a mission that takes them through a wormhole and into another galaxy, where they must search for a habitable planet before ecological problems doom Earth. For much of the shoot, which was shrouded in secrecy, the story was referred to by the code name “Flora’s Letter” (a reference to one of Nolan and producer Emma Thomas’ four children), perhaps indicative of the shift in emotional temperature that this sometimes-cool filmmaker wished to take here.
Even as a child he had a look. On Thursday, Matthew McConaughey shared a throwback photo that was taken in the seventies when he was growing up in Texas. In a grainy black-and-white snap posted to his WhoSay account, the 44-year-old actor is seen holding a football trophy while wearing a cowboy hat.
When it comes to casting “Doctor Strange,” Marvel doesn’t just want someone to say “yes.” They want someone to say “alright, alright, alright.”
With Joaquin Phoenix no longer in the running to play Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, the search is on for a new leading man to become the magically-powered superhero. Variety reports a bunch of high-profile names in the mix, most notably Oscar-winning actor and man-of-the-moment Matthew McConaughey.
“It’s unclear whether the ‘Interstellar’ actor could even take on Doctor Strange given his busy schedule,” Variety reports, “but Marvel believes that, after drawing interest from Phoenix, the studio can get anyone in the room and execs want a star for the part.”
McConaughey is the biggest name in the running for Stephen Strange, but there are other A-listers supposedly on the docket as well, including McConaughey’s fellow “Dallas Buyers Club” Oscar winner Jared Leto. Others include Jake Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor, the last of whom’s potential involvement was first reported by Badass Digest.
“The actor has a total of nine films currently in development and hasn’t starred in a major tentpole since his days playing young Obi-Wan in the ‘Star Wars’ prequels,” Variety writes of McGregor. “But as BadAss Digest previously reported, he’s expected to meet for the role and could have a few more tricks up his sleeve.”
One last “Strange” contender: Oscar Isaac, the star of “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and one of the main cast members of the upcoming “Star Wars” reboot. As a known quantity at Disney, Isaac could have a leg up over his competitors — except that Marvel apparently wants “a star,” and while he’s extremely talented, Isaac isn’t a name just yet. Still, on looks and talent alone, it’s hard to argue his worthiness to play the Sorcerer Supreme.
With Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming film Interstellar, the director of The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception boldly goes into outer space with his most visually spectacular and emotionally resonant movie yet. We can say that because we’ve seen it. We also watched Nolan make it, and in this week’s Entertainment Weekly, we bring you onto the top secret set and take you into editing room to chronicle how the man who made Batman fly to new heights pushed himself creatively and personally to produce his sci-fi epic.
Interstellar opens Nov. 5 and stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, and John Lithgow, to name a few. (Seriously: There are more.) The plot tracks a quartet of astronauts and scientists—and the most unusual robot to grace the screen in years (meet the fall’s breakout star: a mini-monolith of metamorphic Jenga blocks named TARS)—who journey across the universe to search for a new home for mankind: In the near future of the film, Earth is dying, ravaged by blight and environmental ruin.
And yet, Interstellar deliberately veers away from dystopia chic with its depiction of optimistic, adventurous heroism reminiscent of director Philip Kaufmann’s adaptation of The Right Stuff, which not only influenced the tone of Nolan’s movie but the techniques he used to make it. Informed by the work and theories of renowned astrophysicist Kip Thorne, Interstellar is more akin to the speculative sci-fi of 2001: A Space Odyssey than space opera fantasy like Star Wars, while still remaining accessible pop entertainment. Mind altering substances are not required to appreciate this trip. “Isn’t it nice to have a movie that is about all things the movie is about and not feel druggy?” says Hathaway with a laugh.
Nolan challenged himself and his team to fill Interstellar with imagery designed to inspire awe in the audience, not to mention a little terror. Dust storms. Tidal waves. Wormholes. A tiny, fragile spaceship juxtaposed against the monstrous gas planet of Saturn. Everything in the hush-hush final act. “This is the first film I have made where the actual experience of the film is paramount to the audience,” Nolan tells EW. “You would think that’s the case with Batman movies but it’s not; they’re more dependent on the reaction of characters on screen. Interstellar is different. It harkens back to the direct experience films of 2001, where you’re not just experiencing it through the characters, you are lost in it.” (You might want to watch Interstellar on an IMAX screen, especially since Nolan incorporated more than an hour of footage shot using IMAX cameras.)
Nolan also aspired to craft a philosophically thoughtful, deep feeling experience, too. He chased that goal in a number of ways, from an inventive collaboration with composer Hans Zimmer to drawing inspiration from his experience as a father. “The film is about human nature, what it means to be human. It sounds like a very grand statement, but I don’t intend it to be. I mean it in the way, say, Treasure of the Sierra Madre is about dramatizing ideas of human nature,” says Nolan, who wrote the script with his brother, Jonathan, and produced Interstellar with his wife, Emma Thomas, who has produced all of his movies. “When you take an audience far away from human experience as possible, you wind up focusing very tightly on human nature and how we are connected to each other. What the film tries to do is to be very honest in that appraisal.”
The result is Nolan’s most personal movie. “Nobody is able to put more scope, scale, awe on screen than Chris,” says McConaughey. “But I think he was wanting to take the next step, toward something more intimate. It was an evolution.”
For more on Interstellar, check out this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday, Oct. 17.