Matthew McConaughey on Acting: “You look at the character and I go: ‘Well, who is that?’”

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“I can’t wait to go to work. I’m scared about it, I love it. I love the adrenaline of it. I’m confident with it. I’m surprised with it. It spooks me in a good way.” – Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey has been able to call himself an Oscar-winning actor for long enough now that his nearly decade-long period when he was best known for a series of critically-panned lighthearted romantic comedies seems more like a footnote. Now audiences regularly expect to see McConaughey in critically-acclaimed dramas like White Boy Rick, in which he plays a father failing to make ends meet and keep his son out of trouble. In an interview with The Guardian, McConaughey speaks about the roles he plays and why he has never been completely satisfied with any of his films.

When describing the character, McConaughey doesn’t refer to him as simply a “loser.” He explains, “I didn’t choose to play the loser. I played a guy who’s trying to win but doesn’t. You can’t fault him for not being a hustler and a guy with some endurance but he’s ill-equipped, man. He’s living on hopes and dreams of the future but he’s fricking paralyzed in the present.”

McConaughey describes his transformation from romantic comedy leading man to Oscar-winning actor as one of progressing toward the roles he wanted, not distancing from roles that he didn’t want. He explains, “I was not running from anything, I was running to. This is just the next chapter. I didn’t go seeking. I didn’t go: ‘I want roles where I can really transform, I want roles where I can get skinny or fat.’ You look at the character and I go: ‘Well, who is that?’”

Though McConaughey can certainly claim to be part of many successful films dating back to the 1990s, he confesses that he’s never felt satisfied with the projects he has worked on. He explains, “I’ve have never been in a film or given a performance that was as good as I’d hoped it would be. I’ve come close. I’ve seen some that are close. The movie that was closest to the script that I’ve ever been a part of is Mud. There was like one scene different and the dialogue is almost exactly what Jeff Nichols wrote.”

With that said, McConaughey doesn’t mean that he isn’t enamored with acting or his performances. He explains, “I’m still getting off on acting. I’m not bored at all. Acting is like a working vacation for me. I can’t wait to go to work. I’m scared about it, I love it. I love the adrenaline of it. I’m confident with it. I’m surprised with it. It spooks me in a good way.”

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