Worth the weight

Matthew McConaughey suf­fered for art and is now odds- on favourite for an Os­car, as Vicky Roach dis­cov­ers

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

I HEAR mem­ber­ship to the Dal­las Buy­ers Club is ex­traor­di­nar­ily hard to

come by? The script came by with a mass of oth­ers and pretty much sank its fangs into me. But it had been around for 15 years and no­body could get it fi nanced. I told my agents, ‘ Don’t lose it. Don’t let it get away from me’. I kept it on my desk and each year I would ask, ‘ What about this fall, this spring?’ Fast Fi­nally, for­ward I just said, an­other ‘ It’s time’. fi ve years. And the thing is, we di­rec­tor didn’t called blink. me Eight and days said, be­fore ‘ I don’t we have shot, the the days, there, I I’ll don’t be there’. have the I said, money, ‘ I will but see if you you will next be Tues­day’. You and you’ve have al­ready been nom­i­nated won a Golden for an Globe Os­car. Does vin­di­cated? that ac­knowl­edg­ment make you feel I never re­ally felt like I was try­ing to prove a point to any­one else. I knew Dal­las Buy­ers Club had the DNA to be some­thing spe­cial and, if done right, it could be some­thing that could be con­sid­ered around this time of the sea­son. But I didn’t know if we had made that kind of movie.

The rodeo scenes feel very au­then­tic. My nephew is a bull rider and I have rid­den some smaller calves be­fore.

So you knew what you were do­ing, then. I wouldn’t say that. I have been around live­stock but other than that, I just strapped on and went for the buck. I didn’t have to go the full eight sec­onds but I did get a few short rides. I was just hop­ing I didn’t get a horn in my face. Hand­some comedic fall guy to se­ri­ous dra­matic ac­tor. What hap­pened? I do not have a mo­ment that fi ts the per­fect nar­ra­tive for the story. But I do re­mem­ber say­ing to my­self at one point that my life felt more vi­tal than my ca­reer. And, hey, I’m glad it isn’t the other way around, but I won­der if I can re­cal­i­brate my re­la­tion­ship, here, with my ca­reer. Did that mean say­ing no to some lu­cra­tive of­fers? I knew it was go­ing to come at a price. I talked to my agent. And I talked to my wife. I said busi­ness is go­ing to dry up and I don’t know how long that’s go­ing to last. But thank­fully, I have got my rent paid, my kids are go­ing to eat – there was noth­ing for a year. Any sec­ond thoughts dur­ing those 12 months?

I was in by that point. I was like: I know there is light at the end of this tun­nel. Then, all of a sud­den I get a call from [ Wil­liam] Fried­kin about Killer Joe, and a call from [ Steven] Soder­bergh

about Magic Mike, and one from Lee Daniels for The Paper Boy. I think I be­came a good and fresh idea. Your phys­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion in Dal­las Buy­ers Club is ini­tially quite shock­ing ( McConaughey shed more than 18kg for the role). The choice to lose [ so much] weight was not an af­fec­ta­tion. If some­one had gone in there and played the part with my body, at what I weigh, 182 pounds ( 82kg), it wouldn’t have made sense. This is the state the guy was in. And yet it’s not a story about some­body dy­ing. It’s very much a story about some­body try­ing to live. I have friends who were dy­ing of cancer and their body with­ered away, but boy, from the neck up they were vis­cer­ally grab­bing on to ev­ery bit of life pos­si­ble – like a baby bird starv­ing in an ea­gle’s nest. You still look fairly gaunt in some of the im­ages we have seen of you since. Was it hard to re­gain the weight?

I did Wolf Of Wall Street on the way down, be­fore Dal­las Buy­ers Club. So I pressed pause for a week. And then I took my time com­ing back up. I ac­tu­ally en­joyed my weight at 165 pounds ( 74kg) for quite some time. I am just now back up to 180 ( 82kg). The hard part about get­ting the weight back is there’s a very un­healthy way to do it.

No last­ing health is­sues? Joint in­tegrity was the main chal­lenge be­cause ev­ery­thing shrinks. Your or­gans. Your mus­cles. It took a while to get my joint in­tegrity back, but ev­ery­thing feels good now. As an ac­tor, you are obliged to tread an aw­ful lot of red car­pet dur­ing the award sea­son. I chose to en­gage in this sea­son. I am proud of Dal­las Buy­ers Club. I am proud of Mud. I am proud of a lot of the stuff I have been do­ing. The ex­pe­ri­ences were enough on their own, but be­cause of the res­o­nance of these projects, it feels very good to be in these con­ver­sa­tions. I know the an­swers to the ques­tions that are be­ing asked. I was there. I was part of the ex­pe­ri­ence. What about the not- so- sub­tle shift from ac­tor to sales­man? What’s dif­fer­ent, what’s re­ally fun for me, is that the fi lm pre­cedes me. I am not re­ally pro­mot­ing it. I am there to give tes­ta­ment to the ex­pe­ri­ence.

DAL­LAS BUY­ERS CLUB

Now show­ing at State Cin­ema

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