Matthew McConaughey returns to cinemas this week in ‘Gold’ (out on 3 February) playing prospector Kenny Wells, a fictional character loosely inspired by real-life miner David Walsh who brought the Canadian stock market to its knees in the 1990s.
Like Wells in the film, Walsh was a larger-than-life character – “a consumer of life” as McConaughey puts it – who died prematurely aged 52, so the 47-year-old actor filled up on life, gaining 47 pounds to look the part. It’s a stark contrast to the extreme weight loss he underwent for his Oscar-winning performance in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’.
Unlike Tom Hardy though, who thinks his drastic body transformations for roles in ‘Bronson’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ “damaged” his body, McConaughey believes the body can easily cope with extreme change.
“I’ve found the body, for me anyway, it’s more resilient than I think we give it credit for. I just look at it as I stretched it, you know?” McConaughey tells Yahoo Movies in our interview above.
He adds that he prefers putting on timber to losing it.
“[Gaining weight] isn’t as militant [as losing it]. Losing the weight, you get a diet and you lose 2.5lbs a week like clockwork. Gaining it, first the body expands and it’s false water weight and then, all of a sudden, the body goes ‘OK, we’re doing this’ and it sets into the haunches.”
“It’s more fun putting it on, because of the indulgence and the hedonism, and the desire, and the appetite… It was something I never got bored of.”
Beyond the weight loss, McConaughey also shaved his head and wore crooked teeth and his physical performance on screen is frankly rather gross, with Wells constantly drinking, smoking, and eating in nearly every frame of the film, something he admits to have loved doing.
“I love food. My favourite food is cheeseburgers, and I would have multiple cheeseburgers a day at times. It’s really fun to have beer at lunch with your burger if you want it, every day.”
‘Gold’ hits UK cinemas on Friday, 3 February. Watch a trailer below.