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by Jay A. Fernandez
December 6, 2012 5:05 PM
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Honor Roll 2012: Matthew McConaughey Wants a Viagra Study, Has an 18 Handicap and Thinks You've Got to "Enjoy the Architecture"

"Magic Mike"
For a while there, it looked as if Matthew McConaughey would never shake his on-screen image as the stoned, shirtless, good ol’ boy who mugged through Southern-fried thrillers and C-grade rom coms. But 2012 finally stuck a pin in all that as the 43-year-old Texas-born star stretched in every way he could across five films that showed his range and, for the first time, sparked discussion of awards consideration.

This year, McConaughey starred in Lee Daniels’ Southern potboiler “The Paperboy,” William Friedkin’s pitch-black crime thriller “Killer Joe,” Jeff Nichols’ indie drama “Mud,” Steven Soderbergh’s stripper comedy “Magic Mike” and the crime comedy “Bernie,” which reunited him with the filmmaker who gave him his brig break 20 years ago in “Dazed and Confused,” Richard Linklater. It’s a potent mix that led to his New York Film Critics’ Circle honor for best supporting actor in “Bernie” and “Magic Mike” earlier this week, and likely will lead to more rewards from the Golden Globes, the Oscars — or both.

READ MORE: Honor Roll 2012: The Team Behind 'How To Survive a Plague'

The new plan apparently remains in place. McConaughey is working with Martin Scorsese on the real-life drama “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and he is in the process of shooting the indie period AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club.” Indiewire recently spoke to the actor on the phone from the set of the latter — where he was prepping for an on-location rodeo scene at Louisiana State — about his career resurgence, how golf relates to the Oscars and just how Wooderson would feel about the recently passed laws legalizing marijuana.

Honor Roll is a daily series for December that will feature new or previously published interviews, profiles and first-person stories of some of the year's most notable cinematic voices. Today, we're running a new interview with Matthew McConaughey.

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"The Paperboy"
A lot of people think of this past year as a resurgence for you. Does this past year feel different to you, or is it all one fluid continuum?

A little bit of both. I looked around, at my life and career, and said, “I’m in a good spot.” I was reading some of the same action and romantic comedy stuff. Nothing was that exciting. I had done those for a while. They were fun. They treated me well, I treated them well. They paid my rent. I said, “I want to do something else – I don’t know what it is, but I want something to scare me.” That was a word I remember telling myself. And I wanted it to scare me in a good way. There’s two sorts of fear: one you embrace and one you should listen to and turn the other way. Good fear is when you’re scared because you don’t know the answer, and looking at a role, “Whoa. I don’t know exactly what I’ll be able to do with that; this is really courageous and daring material, I’m not sure about it. But I’m excited, because I know I’ll come out the other side, I just gotta go through the blind spots, dive in, and say, ‘I’m going to take it on.’” It’s very different than a fear when you’re trying to make it work because you think it would be eccentric for eccentricity’s sake — that’s not the good fear. That’s the one you should probably turn away from and go, “No, the reason my gut isn’t into this is because it’s wrong.”

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It’s quite a mix, and it’s an impressive thing to push into all those territories.

I had worked with Linklater before, so I know how he works, I know how I work with him. He and I can create a wonderful character together. The other directors — from Friedkin to Soderbergh, Lee Daniels to Jeff Nichols — they’re very singular-vision guys. The advantage of independent filmmaking, which all these are independent, is maintaining artistic integrity. Meaning, if you and your director are on the same page, and you find you have a similar gauge of what value is, or what good work is, or what the story is, you’re going to be able to do your damnedest, to do your best, and go in and tell it that way. That doesn’t mean you’re going to make a good movie. But when you get into a large, studio film, because there’s more money on the line, because there’s more marketability on the line, there are more outside influences besides the director and the actors that come in with opinions. A lot of those opinions are good opinions, but there are more opinions.

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