GQ has named Matthew McConaughey “Leading Man of the Year” in its December “Men of the Year” issue. The 44 year-old actor and star of “Dallas Buyers Club” and the upcoming “Wolf of Wall Street,” appears on one of five covers. The contemplative star shares how he approaches his work and life in general, and how he keeps a laptop filled with personal aphorisms, truths, and even his own rap lyrics. And though his work has become increasingly diverse, McConaughey tells GQ he does recognize the public perception of him: “Outdoors, shirtless on the beach, does a lot of rom-coms, girlfriend loves him, good-looking. It’s like he rolls out of bed and shows up and makes it look easy,” he says.
Photo Credit: Sebastian Kim / GQ
Matthew McConaughey on how he is perceived: McConaughey says he had “no frequency of his conception” until recently. “Now I get it,” he says. “Outdoors, shirtless on the beach, does a lot of rom-coms, girlfriend loves him, good-looking. It’s like he rolls out of bed and shows up and makes it look easy.”
And it kind of has been easy. “He’s the guy who moves to L.A., goes to his first audition, gets it,” says Richard Linklater, who directed him in Dazed. “He’s like a gifted athlete: Boom, you’re in the major leagues.”
…on his collection of personal aphorisms, truths, and rap lyrics: “I got 821 of them,” he says, nodding toward a slim laptop containing “aphorisms, bumper stickers, truths, and rhymes,” many of which he has come up with himself. Lately he has been writing bits of rap songs. Rollin’ through yellow lights on my skateboard, he speak-sings. Kiss the fire and walk away whistlin’.
…on accepting a wrestling challenge in an African village: “So there I was in this little village on the Niger River.” Matthew McConaughey is talking about a trip he took a few years ago, one of the walkabouts he is fond of going on whenever the Hollywood air gets too rarefied. “Word had gotten out that there was a strong white man, a boxer. So I’m lying there outside, stretchin’, when I hear these young male voices, and it sounded like they were talking shit,” he says. He asked his guide to translate: “They saying they are champion of the village wrestlers, and they want to wrestle Strong White Man,” he says, transitioning into a sort of Tarzan accent. “And all of a sudden, the volume of the crowd comes up, like, two decibels. And I look up, and there’s a huge guy wearing, like, a burlap sack. He looks at me, and he points to his chest.” McConaughey points to his famous pecs, peeking out of his white V-neck like a pair of toasted dinner rolls. “Then he points at me. Then he points over there to a sandpit.” McConaughey points at the window of his Airstream trailer, which is parked at Sony studios. “And my heart is going babababababababa. But my brain is going, ‘You have to, dude.’ So I go and get in the sandpit. I’m barefoot, no shirt; he’s barefoot, no shirt. I don’t know the rules, but I am about to find out.”
…on being selfish: “I got much more selfish,” he says. “I’m a fan of the word selfish. Self. Ish,” he repeats, drawing it out. “When I say I have gotten a lot more self-ish, I mean I am less concerned with what people think of me. I’m not worried about how I’m perceived. Selfish has always gotten a bad rap. You should do for you. I wanted new experiences.”
…on sticking with the congas: “Of course I still play the congas naked,” he says. “I just close the windows.”
Friend, Woody Harrelson, on McConaughey: “Matthew is a divisive figure in Hollywood,” says True Detective co-star Woody Harrelson. “I have found myself defending him to people who don’t really know him, who for some reason feel very antagonistically toward him. He’s a good guy, he’s great-looking, has a perfect body, his career’s through the roof,” he says. “People resented that, and the way they justified it is, He has never done a movie of substance.” Harrelson laughs. “They can’t say that anymore.”
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