HOW TO PLAY A LOSER

Matthew Mcconaughey on play­ing against type in White Boy Rick

Empire (UK) - - PRE.VIEW - NICK DE SEMLYEN

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY IS not al­right, al­right, al­right. At least, he’s not in White Boy Rick, the new thriller from di­rec­tor Yann De­mange, about a young­ster (Richie Mer­ritt) slid­ing into a life of crime while his fret­ting, help­less dad Richard Wer­she Sr (Mcconaughey) watches. The star is most of­ten seen on screen as ide­al­is­tic heroes or charis­matic vil­lains; what he doesn’t usu­ally play are schlubby losers with a mul­let. Mcconaughey ex­plained to Em­pire why he couldn’t turn it down.

Was this a dif­fer­ent kind of char­ac­ter for you?

Yeah, it was. This is my sad coun­try song. I had never re­ally done a sad coun­try song be­fore. Vul­ner­a­ble is a word that peo­ple throw around a lot, but boy, talk about vul­ner­a­ble — this guy is done unto. He does not do the do­ing. Ev­ery sce­nario he’s in, he loses. He’s in de­nial. You know who I stud­ied? Fredo, John Cazale’s char­ac­ter in The God­fa­ther. I stud­ied all of John Cazale’s work and it very much had that fac­tor — the runt. With this role, I am the runt.

As an ac­tor you seem to look for a char­ac­ters of ac­tion. But this is a guy of in­ac­tion.

This was a real de­par­ture. In my work I’m usu­ally play­ing men that han­dle the sit­u­a­tion. They come out the other side win­ning, or take lumps along the way but some­how sur­vive. This guy loses all the way through. The shit hits the fan and this guy is sit­ting there with his hands in his pock­ets. He’s sort of paral­ysed.

Was it the role or the story that grabbed you first?

It was both. There are three things I’m look­ing for: a story well told, a char­ac­ter that turns me on and scares me the right way, and I’m look­ing for a di­rec­tor that ex­cites me. This had all three things. It was a role I’d never played be­fore, but I felt like I un­der­stood the heart of the guy.”

WHITE BOY RICK IS IN CINEMAS FROM 7 DE­CEM­BER

Top: Matthew Mcconaughey as Richard Wer­she Sr. Above: Troubled son Rick Wer­she Jr (Richie Mer­ritt) with his fa­ther.

Em­pire spoke to Matthew Mcconaughey on 8 Septem­ber at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val.

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