INT: Matthew McConaughey

If you’re gonna compete for screen space with an oversized personality like Al Pacino, you’d better be prepared to bring it. This week we’ll find out if Matthew McConaughey has what it takes when he squares off with Pacino in TWO FOR THE MONEY. McConaughey stars as Brandon Lang, a one-time college football star who finds fortune in the perilous world of sports gambling. Last week Matthew talked about his experience making the film, as well as his own views on gambling, addiction and, well, at the end I’m really not sure exactly what he’s talking about. If you can figure it out, let me know.

Matthew McConaughey

In terms of your character’s rise and fall in the movie, do you see any comparisons to people who get famous in Hollywood too quickly?

No, I didn’t. What I saw was a guy who was a winner, and then all of a sudden he starts losin’. There’s where the drama was for this character, for me, man. What do you do if you’re a winner? Not that you think you can win; you are a winner, and you all of a sudden are not winning. And so what do you do? You go back to the world where it all made sense when you were winning, and all of a sudden you find out that that world wasn’t real, that was an illusion. Uh-oh.

So you go to the people that have kinda become your family, and you find out that that rug is kinda pulled out from under your feet. And then to top that off, not in any certain order, but you find out that you not only need to win to get somebody’s money back; you need to win to survive and help your family survive, because some of the people that lost the money took it real personal and went to make threats on the family. So a winner who’s having trouble winning, a winner who’s not winning—now, that was the drama for me.

What do you think Brandon is addicted to?

Brandon’s not addicted to anything. He’s actually the only one in the story that’s not addicted…maybe there are some other people, but he’s not. That’s partially where the drama comes from too. He’s in a world with some addicted people, and in a business where people get addicted, but he’s not addicted. All the success he gets...I don’t personally see it as like, he gets corrupted by the addiction...he’s a winner, and he’s winning. I wanted to root for the guy to keep winning, you know. And is he addicted to winning? I don’t know if you could say you’re addicted to winning. I don’t know if he’d say he’s addicted to winning. I never thought about it like that, but addicted enough so he can do whatever he can to keep winning. And that’s a healthy thing.

Did you meet the real Brandon early on? How much time did you spend with him?

I did meet Brandon early on, and then I had many talks with him, and then also did a lot of my own work, whether it was with the football stuff, the actual playing of it, or the actual calling a lot of these services on my own, and hearing different sales pitches and types and brands. And there’s all kinda different ways. People do wanna hear that certainty in that uncertain world. And that’s why the line’s about that whole racket, you know. The phone is ringing. A person on the other end of the line is looking for direction. So you’re already there.

So there’s some great stuff in the movie talking about "The person’s already calling, tell them what to do, make them believe that." But then our move…myself and the director worked on what Brandon’s pitch would be, which was like not to really sell, not to be the "Sell, sell, sell" guy, be the guy that says, "Hey, man, I’m just gonna tell you the truth. Here’s what I know, because I played the game. I loved the game. Now also, as well, both are true, if you wanna make some money, call the number at the bottom of your screen. Let’s do it!" He didn’t see it as an act, you know?

What was it like working with Al Pacino?

It’s like dancing, man. It’s like you dance with a great partner. It’s fun, it’s free, it’s unexpected all the time. He gets on waves, you know, and he rides ‘em all the way. Sometimes you end up landing in the perfect spot, sometimes you don’t, but he rides ‘em every time. And that’s one of the things I loved watching from the outside, and also from working with him. You get into something, and you catch a wave. You don’t know where it’s going, but while you’re doing it, you’re not trying to stay ahead of it. You’re on it, you’re riding right there at the top, you’re surfing. And if you hit it, then you kinda have that feeling afterwards like, "Oh, okay, I don’t know what that was, but it worked." So it’s always a dance, man. It’s fun.

Did you approach Brandon Lang and his alter-ego, John Anthony, as two different characters?

No, I did not. The package seems a little different, but the product’s the same, you know? Brandon Lang, that’s who he is. Call him John Anthony, call him whatever, that’s Brandon Lang. He’s got slicked-back hair and he’s talking a little quicker, but he’s still a winner. He’s not addicted to anything. He’s not lying, cheating, stealing. He’s a winner, man. He’s a good dude. And I never chose to see that as a black-and-white as I saw more of just an evolution. Hey, that’s how life can be. You get into Disneyland, you find out that some of these things are an illusion: "Ooohh, let’s get out of here, and have the experience of going, that was a pretty shady little world. I’m glad I got out all right."

As a fan, is football your game of choice?

I sure do like college football, and I like pro football too...and I like baseball. And in the last four years, I’m starting to get more into baseball and really appreciate the game. And one of the most relaxing things for me is Wednesday night (with) Joe Morgan and John Miller. Just to have ‘em on TV in the background man. I don’t care who’s playing. If I can hear John Miller talking, and every nine innings, Joe Morgan will say a couple of things, just about face-off. And you hear it, and you go, "That’s a great way to look at baseball man." And I love a good National League Game. I love a good Roger Clemens, 2-to-1, grind-out, 100-pitch, 7-inning, one-run game. I love that National League Baseball, with one error maybe. I like that baseball.

How do you avoid the temptations of celebrity and stay grounded?

Some things I guess it's just...you like what you like and you just stick to it. Other things, you like what you like but things that come with success, or "celebrity" as you put it, comes more options. All of a sudden there’s gonna be 99 things to say yes to that you didn’t even have the option to say yes to yesterday. So once out of these, you’re like, "Well, man, I’ve never had the chance. Let’s try it out, see what they’re talking about." Sometimes you learn…no one comes up and says, "This opportunity will be offered, but don’t take it." Good advice is, "There it is, be cool, check it out, don’t ever forget yourself, and go into it." Sometimes you get into it and go, "This is great; this is neat," and you may wake up the next morning, or you may wake up the next year, and go, "That’s not feedin’ me. I get it. It was hot, it was fun, it was exciting, but it doesn’t go along with who I am. It was Halloween, it was dress-up for a time. Hey, try it out, check it out, cool." It’s not for me. I don’t know.

I’ve always known that, whether I even realize it or not, I got a lot of self-respect. So even on those times where you’re not feeling the best, your inside clock lets you know, man, your instincts. You learn things first when you try ‘em out first in your head, and then you marinate ‘em for a while and understand what they feel like inside, and then you go by your gut. Listen to my instincts, which my spider senses have always been pretty damn keen, very keen. And one of the big challenges is just keeping the high eye on things, not being…what I see and have seen is you see people with success become, for some reason, you can get a cynical eye at the rest of the world, or strangers, or what-have-you. And I still believe that anyone is innocent til proven guilty, but don’t be a fool. Not everyone’s out for your best interests, and people are people, and that’s the one thing you can trust in a being, you know what I mean? So, hey, it’s a fun, wild, wicked, but very overall good world we live in, and peoples’ first moves are instinctually to not harm you. Hey, they may not even know. And then other times just go, "Hey, it’s not for me."

Do you feel you have an addictive personality in real life?

I know I can, yeah. And that probably comes from me liking to, if I’m doing something, I do like to take it to the limit, just to test it. I got a high ceiling…I have a wide threshold, whether it’s left, right, up, or down, ceiling, basically I’ve got a wide threshold for seeing what those boundaries are for myself. And thankfully I have very resilient insides that can do something with it...I find things that I like and do, and boy, I do like to stick to ‘em, you know. I’m not a guy who gets addicted to more of certain things, but if I find something I like, I do like to stick to it.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com



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