If your morning internet time today was inundated with a flood of McConaughey, it’s no surprise. His GQ interview that came out today is like opening up the existential toy shop of his mind and taking an extended look. It’s full of enough pull quotes to power a small movie franchise. This was the interview that launched a thousand headlines. Yes! He (sort of) supports continued use of a racist mascot. Yes! He’s always wanted to be a father. Yes! He loved doing those rom-coms. There’s a lot going on here, and it’s all gold. To fully understand the mind of Matthew McConaughey, you first need to understand these things:
12. He paraphrases Oscar Wilde on the regular.
A man should always have his diary on him. That way he’s guaranteed to always have something incredible to read.
11. He’s down with the term “McConaissance.”
It’s a cool word. It sounds good. It’s got a good meter… When you say it, it’s like, “I don’t know what that is, but it sounds good.”
10. He was totally into his rom-com phase. That was serious work.
These things aren’t easy. What’s hard is to make them look easy. Those kinds of movies are what they are. They get pooh-poohed by critics. They get pooh-poohed by actors themselves. And in a way I get it, but in other ways it’s completely unfair. There’s a buoyancy you need to make them work. I believe I gave them buoyancy. And some of the shoots were very difficult, with me trying to fight for the balls on the guy… Look, I’m happy if you think I “cruised through” those. I did my work.
9. And at the same time, it was absolutely just him hanging out at the beach and surfing and if they happened to have a camera rolling while he did that, then cool, let’s make a movie.
Yeah, it’s me. I did Fool’s Gold in Australia, had a summer in Malibu, and made a surfer film—basically, when you edit those all together, it was one continuous ninety-degree day on the beach without a shirt. But also, I worked hard to live in Malibu, California. I’m going to the beach! I’m gonna go surfing! No, I don’t want to wear a shirt. I want to get a tan and feel the sun on my bones. And it’s Tuesday. You’re recording it? Good for you.
8. He has a lot of thoughts on the Redskins team name and logo.
Man, it’s twofold. What interests me is how quickly it got pushed into the social consciousness. We were all fine with it since the 1930s, and all of a sudden we go, “No, gotta change it”? It seems like when the first levee breaks, everybody gets on board. I know a lot of Native Americans don’t have a problem with it, but they’re not going to say, “No, we really want the name.” That’s not how they’re going to use their pulpit. It’s like my feeling about gun control: “I get it. You have the right to have guns. But look, let’s forget that right. Let’s forget the pleasure you get safely on your range, because it’s in the wrong hands in other places.”
7. But ultimately, he wishes everyone wouldn’t make such a big deal out of a little institutionalized racism.
It’s not going to hurt me [if they change it]. It’s just… I love the emblem. I dig it. It gives me a little fire and some oomph. But now that it’s in the court of public opinion, it’s going to change. I wish it wouldn’t, but it will.
6. He’s really into fatherhood. Like, REALLY into it.
Never is a man more of a man than when he is the father of a newborn. Whatever decisions you make in the first six months of becoming a father, double down on them. I mean, you’re meeting the Courier. You’re meeting the Shepherd, the Future Prince.
5. There’s a reason for that reputation of taking his shirt off any time the opportunity presents itself.
I am vain. I think vanity is a good thing. It’s done more good things for me than it has not. In this case [of Dallas Buyers Club], I would have been embarrassed if I didn’t get to where I needed to get. That was vanity at work. Not “Where did my muscles go?”
4. He doesn’t have to work out. And he’ll do push-ups right now to prove it.
I have good genes. My dad was an athlete. I got real fortunate with that. I can curl that frickin’ diary twenty times and look like I’ve been going to the gym. I haven’t used a weight in three years. Plus ten pounds, minus ten pounds—I can go bam, within a week. [Five minutes later, mid-conversation, McConaughey drops to the Oriental rug on the floor of the hotel room we’re in and begins absentmindedly doing push-ups, “just to wake up.”]
3. Don’t you dare call him Matt. Nicknames are for the unenlightened, and were beaten out of him by a “foundational experience” on a jungle gym.
Yeah, the foundational experience of being on the playground in kindergarten. My buddy John says, “Hey, Matt, you want to go play on the monkey bars?” I’m like, “Sure,” and I’m going out there, and all of a sudden—wham—I’m on the ground. I look up and my mom says, “What’s your name?” “Matthew.” “Don’t you ever answer to ‘Matt’ again.” From that day on, it’s always been, “Call me Matthew, please.”
2. He did Magic Mike in order to bask in “the myth” (aka the shirtless dudebro) that had become Matthew McConaughey.
Not “play off” the myth: Take the myth to the Smithsonian. Get it bronzed. What I was saying was, “In case you didn’t know, I’ve always been in on the joke.” …It was just me raising the stakes. Saying, “Yeah, and…” And mind you, these are all lightning-rod characters. Dallas in Magic Mike is a lightning rod. Mark Hanna in The Wolf of Wall Street is a lightning rod. You know: Soothsayers. Preachers. Barnum & Bailey. Poets. So there’s a musicality to them. It’s like this church we go to when we’re in New Orleans, the Sunlight Baptist church. It’s a whole different rhythm and way of speaking. “I’m talking about the Wave Maker! The Prime Mooovah!” It’s not the white-collar prayers I grew up with.
1. He steps in proverbial, professional shit all the time, and doesn’t give a shit about it.
I step in shit all the time. It’s just that I don’t get that pissed off when I step in it. I just scrape off my boots. I’ve stepped in plenty of shit and will continue to. And by the way: Sometimes stepping in shit is good luck.