One can imagine, given Matthew McConaughey and his persona, that dancing is something he does quite regularly. But on the set of Magic Mike, this was a much different animal. The Texas native tells Movie Fanatic about his film that is not only directed by Steven Soderbergh, but also stars and follows the real-life path of Channing Tatum.
“I was very nervous,” McConaughey admitted. “Before going out on the stage to dance, even if you’re not taking your clothes off for everyone, is really kind of nerve-wracking. But then, knowing you’ve got to strip down, it’s very nerve-wracking. Then, after doing it once, I wanted to get up there to do it again. That was a lot of fun! When I first talked to Steven (Soderbergh), he called to offer the role of Dallas to me, and he pitched the story and told me who this guy was,” he said.
“I was laughing really hard on the phone and said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Can you give me one line, just so I can hang up the phone and walk away and have my imagination go somewhere?’ He said, ‘This guy, Dallas, is pretty connected to the UFOs.’ So, that was a great launch pad. That was a pretty roofless bit of direction on the phone, at the beginning. I knew that I was just going to be able to fly. It was really fun to play someone so committed, in many ways.”
McConaughey saw his character Dallas as a man who sees the sky as the limit. “Dallas is working his ass off to be the messiah of the male revue universe. As he says, ‘The moon is merely a chip shot away. We’re going lunar!’ He doesn’t just want to take over the male revue on planet earth. He wants to control the solar system,” he said.
When it came to his wardrobe, he knew what he was getting into. “It is one of the larger leaps of faith to trust a thong,” he said and laughed. “It weighs what a dollar bill weighs. It weighs nothing. At the end of the performance, that’s the only protection I had! The first time, putting it on, you’re going, 'What is every possible angle I could be in?' I had to check to see if everything was covered. I had to walk around and try to have normal conversations. You’ve gotta talk about football or what you ate last night. You lean against a wall and you’re just like, ‘No, I’m just hanging out, man,’ to get comfortable with it.”
Adorning the stripper outfit found the actor carrying himself differently. “The first time you put it on, your body contorts. You have to straighten up and put your shoulders back and your hips out. It is somewhat unnatural,” McConaughey said. “Channing would be there, just talking about what’s going on in the scene with Soderbergh, and he was in his red thong, just working it out.”
Magic Mike is part of an artistic renaissance for the man who first stole our hearts in Dazed and Confused. “I made five movies in a row last year. I went back to back to back to back to back. It was my most creative, constructive and fun working year that I’ve ever had. I did not have one single day, in all five films, where I was not excited to get out of bed in the morning and go to work,” McConaughey said.
He is set to appear in Thunder Run and The Dallas Buyer's Club, and up next for fans in theaters is The Paperboy, directed by Lee Daniels (Precious).
“I got to work with a lot of very interesting directors on some very interesting stories. They were all characters that didn’t really pander or placate to any laws, government, parental guidance, or what have you. They were very committed characters, and that’s really, really fun. It’s boundless, how far you can go. It’s almost four-dimensional.”
Now lastly, with Magic Mike on the brain, we wondered if any of the women in the dancing scenes got a little too overzealous. "They were crazy during the dances, and then, afterwards, they would become very motherly and want to take care of us. They’d be like, 'That was good! You done good today!'"