For an actor who didn't get the respect he deserved until almost 20 years into his now legendary career, Matthew McConaughey has certainly been lucky enough to work with some amazing filmmakers. Last year's Best Actor Oscar winner has honed his craft under the eyes of Steven Spielberg (“Amistad”), Steven Soderbergh (“Magic Mike”), Martin Scorsese (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Ron Howard (“Edtv”), John Sayles (“Lone Star”), Robert Zemeckis (“Contact”), William Friedkin (“Killer Joe”) and his longtime friend Richard Linklater, who gave him his big break in “Dazed and Confused.” Surprisingly, McConaughey more or less tells HitFix they all come up short compared to his helmer for the expected blockbuster “Interstellar,” Christopher Nolan.
“I've never worked with a better leader,” McConaughey says. “I cannot say I've ever worked with a better problem solver, and half the problems he just solves by pure will. Everything must keep moving forward. Keep moving forward. He never goes backwards. He won't go reshoot anything. Even if he found out something was wrong I don't think he'd reshoot it.”
That's high praise considering Spielberg and Scorsese are deemed by many to be two of the top 10 directors of all time. Granted, McConaughey worked with Spielberg on one of his lesser films and it was a short few weeks (if that) on Scorsese's “Wall Street.” That being said, McConaughey continues his effusive praise of the “Inception” helmer.
“Conceptually he's able to realize things on screen and put them up there in a larger and more awe-inspiring scope than any director that I know or have seen,” McConaughey says. “Yet, when we were shooting the personal stuff, which the film is full of, it felt like a small, independent film. A few takes. He's not a perfectionist. I thought he was going to be a perfectionist. He's not a perfectionist. He actually wants the imperfections and you can take as much time as you need. He also has a great sense of humor, which a lot of people don't know.”
After stunning performances in “Dallas Buyers Club” and “True Detective” over the past year, McConaughey does the unexpected and delivers another stellar turn in “Interstellar” (arguably better than even “Dallas”). The 45-year-old actor plays a former test pilot recruited to fly a special mission to a far-off galaxy that could provide the population of a dying earth with a new home. One particular scene finds McConaughey as emotional as we've ever seen him on screen. It sounds like a day on set that he won't forget anytime soon.
“That was first thing in the morning and everything in there, I believe, Chris told me was the first take,” McConaughey says. “I didn't want to see what I was going to see in the film and I didn't want to rehearse it either. So I just came in and they set up and it was technically challenging because they knew they had to get it. And I was like, 'This is a one-er. This is where we are going to really get it. Because I will never have a first reaction again.' So I think he set up multiple cameras. And we shot it a couple more times, but like he said, the first take is what's in there. “
For more on McConaughey's thoughts on Nolan and “Interstellar,” watch the complete interview at the top of this post. THERE ARE SPOILERS!
“Interstellar” opens in 70mm IMAX on Wednesday and nationwide on Friday.