Movies

Escaping the typecasting rut

PARTNERS: Director Christopher Nolan (left) with his Interstellar leading man Matthew McConaughey (right). PHOTOS: REUTERS, WARNER BROS

He has spent much of his career on the covers of tabloid magazines (often shirtless).

But Matthew McConaughey has truly reinvented himself, and these days, you can't help but take the actor seriously.

The 44-year-old Texanonce lamented becoming typecast, after starring in countless romantic comedies.

Now, with an Oscar under his belt, for his powerful performance in last year's Dallas Buyers Club, and a part in the cable TV series True Detective, directors want McConaughey in their films.

Judging by the work McConaughey is taking on, it looks like it's drama stuff all the way.

He turned down Channing Tatum's male stripper sequel, Magic Mike XXL.

After Interstellar, he will act as a suicidal man in a Gus Van Sant drama, The Sea Of Trees, playing opposite Ken Watanabe.

The one-time Sexiest Man Alive chats with M about picking and getting into roles, as well as going under the radar.

ON THE YEARS LEADING TO THE OSCAR WIN

I do think that the (two years) I took off - and was not being seen - was good.

(McConaughey made no films from 2009 to 2011).

Some people ask me if I went through a re-brand. I don't think so. It was more a sense of un-branding.

I like a little anonymity.

Suddenly, directors thought I was a good idea again.

Then I got a call from Richard Linklater (for Bernie), then I made Mud...films that usually would not come to me.

ON HOW HE CHOOSES HIS FILM ROLES

I'm less result-oriented now. One thing I'm doing more of now is to process, process and process.

I'm really looking at these projects and seeing what kind of personal experience I can get while making the films.

Can I, when we wrap the film, say that the months I worked were enough and rewarding? And if the film never sees the light of day, would I be happy that I got something out of it?

Would I be able to say, "Yes, I got an experience out of that"?

ON BEING ABLE TO RELATE TO THE SCENE IN INTERSTELLAR ROLE WHERE HE LEAVES HIS FAMILY

We all have our different goodbyes. It could be going to school for the day or Daddy going off to work for a while.

I was recently down at Fort Hood (in Texas) where I met up with some military personnel who have come back from Afghanistan, and their families.

I noticed the similarity of choices that they made; where you head off without a guarantee of a return ticket.

That really framed it all. It was a good reality check.

- Joanne Soh