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Interstellar - Matthew McConaughey interview

Interstellar

Compiled by Ann Lee and Rob Carnevale

OSCAR winner Matthew McConaughey talks about switching from the small independent Dallas Buyers Club to Christopher Nolan’s epic Interstellar and what he liked about the whole challenge of making the blockbuster.

He also discusses his views on fatherhood and why it helped to inform the intimate story at the heart of the movie and he pays tribute to co-star Anne Hathaway. He was speaking at a UK press conference.

Q. After being a Dallas cowboy what were the challenges of being a space cowboy? Did you have good catering?
Matthew McConaughey: Yes, the catering was great. There was only one way to go and that was up into space and in weight. Dallas Buyer’s Club was a very small independent film shot very quickly. It was very earthbound. This was a much larger picture. Even though this went on for five months and there was a much larger scope and set pieces, when you’re acting in a Chris Nolan film it felt just as intimate and raw as most independents like Dallas Buyer’s Club are forced to feel because you don’t have the time. You don’t have the money. We had the time and the money on Interstellar but when you’re actually shooting it’s very raw and natural so I never felt overwhelmed by the scope. I’ve talked to actors who have been on big action films, who have felt lost in those and the experiences they had. But then this man [Chris Nolan] was never overwhelmed. He was always on top of it. Each day felt very intimate.

Q. Your character is both a hero and a role model. Is there anything in particular you envied or admired about him?
Matthew McConaughey: Yeah. Cooper and the film as a whole… I think it’s about the dare of courage and discovery… having the knowledge and the instinct to over-ride a computer, which I think we’re always going to need. One of the things I liked and take away from the movie is that it challenges mankind but it has incredible faith in mankind at the same time.

Q. How did you cope with shooting in Iceland in those suits and dealing with what must have been quite slippery surfaces?
Matthew McConaughey: Well, what was great about the suits in Iceland was that we were more hopping cold. The crew was pretty jealous of those space suits. You could wear really warm clothes under there and nobody could see them. We did have cramp-ons. So, I found learning to walk in those was quite tough. But we eventually got quite confident. But that was the most adventurous part of the shoot because of the elements there. We did have one very hairy day where the winds picked up to 50mph and we had to get off of the glacier and we had helicopters flying around. But that’s part of the fun of what we did. It’s one of the things I love about making films: the places I’ve got to travel that I would never have gone to before.

Q. Can you comment on the rumours that Anne Hathaway is a nightmare to work with?
Matthew McConaughey: This was my first time working with her and I completely enjoyed it. She’s a wonderful professional. She’s always fully prepared. She reminded me of something that I don’t always do, but it takes a lot of courage to do as an actor… she varies up the takes. A lot of actors strive to get it right, so when they do and they get the thumbs up from the director, they try and stick with that one or give a little more of what I think I did so well. But she would back off and find a new rhythm and try and look at it a different way and never repeat a performance. So, variation… it was a good thing that I was reminded of.

Q. A colleague said that after seeing this movie he just wanted to go home and hug his daughter. Did making the film give you the same feeling? And how has becoming a father affected you and your outlook on life?
Matthew McConaughey: I was fortunate to have my family there with me. I’m pretty sure… I remember the greatest way for me to prepare for some of those scenes was saying goodbye to my kids and then at the end of the day to come back home to them and have that immediacy. It wasn’t a phone call and ‘I’ll see you in a few weeks’. How has being a father informed me? Well, I’ve shared lots of things about what fatherhood means. I think it has restored a certain sense of wonder. And it also reminds me that every day, as kids, they’re seeing something for the first time. So, it reminded me that as get older and start to take things for granted, you can re-adjust your thinking and try to view things as if you’re seeing them for the first time. I could go on and on talking about it.

Read our review of Interstellar

Read our interview with Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway

Read our interview with director Christopher Nolan