How Matthew McConaughey reinvented his career

Actor Matthew McConaughey knew he wanted to push himself. In an interview with 'The Sunday Times', he says he was being offered romantic comedies and action roles, but he wanted "to be scared in ways I didn't know the answer to".

He made a conscious choice to change direction. The beefcake roles could wait.

Today he's riding high on a new series of film roles including 'The Lincoln Lawyer', 'Bernie' (released this week), 'Killer Joe', 'The Paperboy' (where he played a gay reporter) and 'Mud'.

Mud, directed by Jeff Nichols ('Take Shelter') is being called the American indie film of the year. 

McConaughey, 43, stars as a drifter in the Arkansas wilderness, living in a boat up a tree, befriended by two young boys and waiting for his lost love Juniper (Reese Witherspoon).

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"So much of the movie is about that headboard that innocence is banging against before it goes into reality, y'know. Real drama. Real pain. Real loss… At the same time there's nothing cynical in this whole movie."

Nichols wrote the role for him. Mud is "a bit of an angel… on another planet", the actor says. "He's an aristocrat of the heart."

Next he'll be seen as a cad dying from Aids in Dallas Buyers Club (he lost 13kg for the role) and alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the new Martin Scorsese.

And, if more proof were needed of a  "McConaissance", he is the lead in the new Christopher Nolan film, 'Interstellar'.

'Bernie' is out now. 'Mud' opens on 10 May