Patton Oswalt discusses his shirtless table read with Matthew McConaughey

Our favorite comedian, Patton Oswalt, recently sat down with the AV Club for their Random Roles feature, and while the entire thing is worth your time, Patton’s encounter with FilmDrunk’s Best Supporting Actor Nominee for 2012, Matthew McConaughey obviously deserves some special attention.

Failure To Launch (2006)—“Techie”
PO: Again, one scene. Me and Sarah Jessica Parker. She was a delight. I remember doing the table read with Matthew McConaughey before she was cast, and his dad was not played by Terry Bradshaw. It was Paul Dooley. He was the best. I said, “You are my favorite movie dad.” He was in Sixteen Candles and Breaking Away. And I think the mom was played by Kathy Bates, who was also amazing at the table read. Then McConaughey shows up in bike shorts and no shirt for the table read. I was sitting across from him, and I could see his right testicle.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: of all his skills, Matthew McConaughey’s best feature is how good he is at being Matthew McConaughey. The genius of Magic Mike was giving him a character that was even more McConaughey. Watching him was like watching a tiger crush a tapir’s neck in a nature film. Just A+ at being a tiger.

AVC: He literally was shirtless for a table read?

PO: Yes. If I looked like that, I’d be shirtless, too. I think he showed up on his bike, so he legitimately had been out biking.

As good as any McConaughey story always is, I think I was more intrigued by his story about Wesley Snipes on the set of Blade Trinity, who would sign post-it notes “Blade.”

Wesley [Snipes] was just f*cking crazy in a hilarious way. He wouldn’t come out of his trailer, and he would smoke weed all day. Which is fine with me, because I had all these DVDs that I wanted to catch up on. We were in Vancouver, and it was always raining. I kept the door to my trailer open to smell the evening rain while I was watching a movie. Then I remember one day on the set—they let everyone pick their own clothes—there was one black actor who was also kind of a club kid. And he wore this shirt with the word “Garbage” on it in big stylish letters. It was his shirt. And Wesley came down to the set, which he only did for close-ups. Everything else was done by his stand-in. I only did one scene with him. But he comes on and goes, “There’s only one other black guy in the movie, and you make him wear a shirt that says ‘Garbage?’ You racist motherf*cker!”

And he tried to strangle the director, David Goyer. So later that night, Ron Perlman was in the city. Everyone who makes movies in Vancouver stays in the same hotel. It’s like an episode of The Love Boat. Every time the elevator stops, you’ve got a different celebrity getting on. Like, [announcer voice] “Hey, now we’ve got Danny Glover!” So we went out that night to some strip club, and we were all drinking. And there were a bunch of bikers there, so David says to them, “I’ll pay for all your drinks if you show up to set tomorrow and pretend to be my security.” Wesley freaked out and went back to his trailer. [Laughs.] And the next day, Wesley sat down with David and was like, “I think you need to quit. You’re detrimental to this movie.” And David was like, “Why don’t you quit? We’ve got all your close-ups, and we could shoot the rest with your stand-in.” And that freaked Wesley out so much that, for the rest of the production, he would only communicate with the director through Post-it notes. And he would sign each Post-it note “From Blade.” [Laughs.]

Amazing. I always wonder if that attitude comes from an older mentality, where you could get away with doing sh*t like that without everyone hearing about it and knowing what a nutjob you are. Or if it’s more just that actors are so crazy that they’re completely oblivious to their own craziness.

AVC: There’s a rumor that he tried to stay in character the entire shoot.

PO: Oh yeah, he did. When I met him I was like, “Hi!” And he was like, “I’m Blade.” And also, Natasha Lyonne was on that set, and she was going through some kind of mental breakdown. Wesley is all boundaries, and she has no boundaries. She played a blind computer expert. So the first scene they had together, she put her hand right on his face, and he just recoiled. It was awesome.

AVC: If you were trying to be in character all the time as a vampire killer, being high all the time might not help.

PO: A lot of the lines that Ryan Reynolds has were just a result of Wesley not being there. We would all just think of things for him to say and then cut to Wesley’s face not doing anything because that’s all we could get from him. It was kind of funny. We were like, “What are the worst jokes and puns that we can say to this guy?” And then it would just be his face going, “Mmm.” “Smiles are contagious.” It’s so, so dumb. [Laughs.] That was an example of a very troubled shoot that we made fun. You have to find a way to make it fun.

AVC: In a weird sort of way, it sounds like Wesley Snipes united the production against himself. Everyone had a common enemy.

PO: Everyone was just like, “This is going to be such a great story.” I’m in this business for two reasons: the money and the anecdotes. That’s all I want. I either want to do the best films or the f*cking worst films. I don’t want to do the “eh” film. [AV Club]

“I don’t want to do the ‘eh’ film.” Oh snap, you hear that, Canada? He just insulted your entire country.