Interview: Matthew McConaughey

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Some romantic comedies that I don’t like, someone may like but I go in and I’m like, aww geez, you completely castrated everything. A lot of these romantic comedies are set up to be some war of the sexes. That’s the fun of them. And to do that, I believe they need to be balanced. A lot of them are written to where they aren’t balanced.

Matthew McConaughey talks with The Black Star News’s Tonisha Johnson about her role opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in The Failure to Launch.

BSN: How is it that you are able to straddle the border and appeal to men and women?
MM: That’s a good question. Some romantic comedies that I don’t like, someone may like but I go in and I’m like, aww geez, you completely castrated everything. A lot of these romantic comedies are set up to be some war of the sexes. That’s the fun of them. And to do that, I believe they need to be balanced. A lot of them are written to where they aren’t balanced. Where the man is spoiled and pulled left, pulled right and kind of sent on his way. Give the guy some waybos and then it’s funnier.

BSN: Well, your character is a smart guy. He’s not some loser sitting at home?
MM: Well, it was very important to me to set up the whole reason why the parents wanted him out of the house and not a set up on because they don’t like him there, because he’s a pain in the but because he doesn’t contribute. It’s very important that he has a great relationship with his parent. And a great relationship with his friends and good to them. But if you ask him, he’d say yeah I’m at home; rents paid, mom cooks, clothes are folded. Why screw this deal up?

BSN: You like the fact that he was this underdeveloped guy?
MM: I thought that would be a stereotypical and easier way to go that would really play into…in the original script, the guy was given a reason, one of his reasons; he had a woman he loved that left his life and so that’s still the love in his heart. That’s why he hasn’t gone out in the last 15 years and made himself available. Which he does do at the end of the film; he says alright, I’m going to give it a shot. I like you, you like me, 2s better than one.

BSN: Do you consciously jump from movie to movie making this one for the guys and this one for the girls?
MM: I don’t make decisions like that. Romantic comedies to studios are one thing that can make them money. Their accessible by nature. Bring the daughters; bring the sons. Bring the dog; it’s accessible. And hopefully everyone can get a good laugh out of it and have a good time watching it.  Dramas are less accessible. Plus, these comedies, in film terms are not expensive to make comparatively to a large action adventure. So, the return can be good for them. They are fun to do and I like doing them.

BSN: But this whole man’ man thing comes from you. A lot of this is really you?
MM: Yeah, but in the film, I don’t know how much of this is like…that’s my character. And what do you do? You stand up for that. That’s my job. And let the comedy come from, for instance in this movie, let him believe what he’s doing. But let the rest of world go, no no no and he goes yeah, what’s wrong with it?  The sense of the comedy is where he thinks he’s got the situation under control and it turns out to be something other than what it appears to be.

BSN: What do you think the phenomenon is to men staying at home?
MM: Some are for economics. And some culture it’s just out of respect. In some cultures you stay home until you get married and even after you get married come home with the wife. I know some who’ve moved out but have gotten married and when they gotten their own homes they moved next door. I don’t think it’s right or wrong. I just think it’s different for different people.

BSN: How awesome was it to do comedy with Sarah Jessica Parker? Was it intimidating for you?
MM: She’s got great comedic timing. I mean, across the board, my experience is when you’re working with someone who’s really good at what they do; it becomes easier working with them. I’m a fan of Sex in the City. Intimidating no; but exciting yes.

BSN: Can you talk about the adventure scenes? Every single day you had a different adventure.
MM: The film wasn’t filled with the arcade. It’s surfing. Well, if you notice I didn’t surf I just sat on the board. It looked like I can surf. Even sitting on that damn board wasn’t easy. There were a lot of cool locations. It’s much better than being stuck in a room; for me.

BSN: Terry said they really had to convince him to do the role. Where you apart of that convincing committee to get him to come aboard?
MM: No. But I did get the call about what do you think of Terry Bradshaw as your father? That came out of left field for me. But then the more I thought about it…it was a great idea. And it turned out to be a great idea because he’s a breath of fresh air up there.

BSN: Your character liked to keep things in the fun zone. You are in some high profiled relationships. Do you like to keep things in the fun zone?
MM: I hope so man. Yeah, I keep it in the fun zone. Life’s hard enough. So anybody that I spend time with, I want to enjoy it. Now, if you mean it’s fun and there’s no hard work…no. Hard work can be fun because you’re evolving. You’re building something with someone and that can be fun. Does hard work mean it’s got to go deep and down? No. How else can love survive if it doesn’t stay buoyant?

BSN: Are you still in a fun place with Penelope?
MM: Yeah. Very fun place.

BSN: It’s been about a year?
MM: It’s been about 2 years. And it’s even more fun than it was.

BSN: After two years, has it been a challenge to keep it fun?
MM: I don’t want to say that two years later it’s harder to keep it fun. It can be easier to keep it fun. You know each other’s sense of humor. You know what each other likes. And we can do those things together. And we can also appreciate having fun for the other one just because you know they are doing something they really dig even though you may not physically be there? That’s very important to. I believe.

Copyright 2006 Tonisha Johnson

“Speaking Truth To Empower.� To contact The Black Star News write editor@blackstarnews.com or call (212) 481-7745. Subscribe to this newspaper and advertise to build power.

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