The Oscar-winning actor sums up his directors and co-stars, plus two very special people.
We asked Matthew McConaughey if we could toss a few random names his way, and he would respond with the first word or memory that popped into his head. He agreed, and took the plate while we manned the pitcher’s mound.
Joel Schumacher, director of A Time to Kill (1996): Sexy. Like, “Joel, tell me one thing all your films are about.” “Oh, that’s easy, honey.” Turned around to the chalkboard with a piece of chalk and big sweeping motions. He goes, “S-E-X-Y.” [Laughs.] And he told me great things. I mean, early on, he said, “Hey, there’s no help wanted signs in Hollywood. The guards at the gates are not there to keep you in. They’re there to keep you out.”
Bill Murray, star of Larger Than Life (1996): An enigma. Talk about a guy who has a completely original and specific frequency that nobody else has. And just when you think you got his frequency, he’ll throw something off that’s a different frequency. He’s an enigma that way.
Martin Scorsese, director of The Wolf of Wall Street (2013): Funny. Loves funny. One of the great things to see, as an actor, is Martin Scorsese’s shoulders bouncing up and down while he’s laughing when he’s looking at the monitor, watching playback of the scene you just did. He loves funny.
Photography: courtesy Sunshine Sachs/via Getty Images
Samuel L. Jackson, costar of A Time to Kill (1996): Hardest working man in Hollywood. Samuel, he’s a no-frills guy, no frills. He’s like, “Hey, there it is. Let’s make this simple — and the answer is yes.” He’s affirmative and, yeah, no frills.
Donald Sutherland, costar of A Time to Kill (1996): Let’s talk presence right there. That man never intrudes. But from his eyes to his heels to his haunches, he is extremely present, and draws you in like a moth to a lightbulb.
Trace Adkins, costar of The Lincoln Lawyer (2011): Gentleman.
Michael Douglas, costar of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009): Class.
Renée Zellweger, star of Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994): Hippie chick.
Jodie Foster, star of Contact (1997): Deliberate.
James Donald McConaughey: Pop. That’s my pop. P-O-P.
Mary Kathleen McCabe: Mom. “Yes.” Her favorite word. She is 89 and doing great. Part of the reason she’s so sharp and so healthy is because throughout life she has consistently taken the path of most resistance. Like she told me: “Don’t walk into the place like you want to buy it. Walk in like you own it.”
Photography: (Cover image) courtesy Sunshine Sachs/via Wild Turkey
From our May/June 2021 issue