It’s shaping up to be the summer of Matthew McConaughey’s groin.
It started last month with Magic Mike, Steven Soderbergh’s surprisingly entertaining movie about thongs and the men who wear them. McConaughey plays an aging ex-stripper named Dallas, who owns and MCs an all-male strip club in Florida—think Chippendales but dirtier—and manages to be sleazy in a likable sort of way (a McConaughey trademark). When Dallas demonstrates the physics of crotch thrusting to his strippers, or explains the ground rules to an audience —”Can you touch this?” he asks teasingly, running a hand over his naughty bits. “No, no, no, no, no.”—he brings gyrating to new levels of artistry.
McConaughey’s crotch makes another starring turn in Killer Joe, which opens nationwide this Friday, July 27th. As the titular character, a police officer and occasional contract killer with a sadistic streak a mile long, he shares an intimate moment with one of his clients (a skank-tastic Gina Gershon) that’s already become infamous just by advance word-of-mouth. (Killer Joe premiered at film festivals in Venice and Toronto, and at SXSW.) We don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say it involves a fried chicken leg dangling from McConaughey’s zipper, which Gershon’s character is forced to, well… orally pleasure. That may sound like a spoiler, but this is one of those plot points you kinda need to know about before seeing the movie. If the very idea of chicken fellatio gives you the heebie-jeebies, trust us on this, it’s much, much worse in execution. You should find something else to do this weekend than see Killer Joe.
Depending on your taste in McConaughey movies, you’re either thinking “What the hell happened to him?” or “Thank god our McConaughey is back!” For much of the last decade, he appeared in a string of romantic comedies that were as profitable as they were forgettable. In every film—mega-hits like The Wedding Planner, How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days, Failure to Launch, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and other movies you only saw if you’re a very patient and loving boyfriend and/or husband—he played more or less the same interchangeable smirking-yet-lovable man-child who just needed to be tamed.
But long before McConaughey was Kate Hudson/ Jennifer Lopez/ Jennifer Garner’s fill-in-the-blanks movie boy-toy, he was Vilmer Slaughter, the sneering patriarch of a serial killer family in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994), and David Wooderson, arguably the best part of 1993’s cult hit Dazed and Confused, with his icky mustache and too-tight Ted Nugent t-shirt, who loves high school girls because “I get older (and) they stay the same age.” It used to be a little dangerous to be a Matthew McConaughey fan. And it looks like it may be becoming that way again. After this summer’s crotch epics, McConaughey’s next film is The Paperboy (which opens in early October), and he plays what the New York Times described as a “closeted gay reporter with a taste for rough sex and a raging death wish.” So, not really Kate Hudson boyfriend material.
I called McConaughey after he’d returned from Berlin, where he’d been promoting Magic Mike, and was back in the States for the first round of Killer Joe press. He’s instantly likable, and has the almost superhuman ability to treat a stranger like they’re an old drinking buddy. Saying you don’t like McConaughey is like saying you don’t like pizza or superhero movies. You’re just being a cynic to be contrarian. Spend five minutes with him and you’ll be begging for a bromance. I have no way of verifying if his shirt was off during our conversation, but just for the sake of consistency, I’m going to assume it was.
Killer Joe will probably change not just how people think about you, but fried chicken in general.
(Laughs.) Yeah, I think that’s what it really boils down to. What do you like, white meat or dark meat? Well after this, you won’t like chicken at all anymore.
When you first got the script and you read the chicken fellatio scene, what was going through my head?
I was just like…. “whoa.”
That’s it? Chicken fellatio turns you into Keanu Reeves?
I was confused. I was like, “What does that mean?” I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, how the scene was going to go down. It’s just so absurd and zany and wild. But it started to make sense the more I got into the character.
How do you get into that mindset? This guy is pretty sadistic and twisted. How much do you need to identify with a character before you can play him?
You just have to find the things you can hang your hat on. With Joe, he’s all about order and structure. He’s very meticulous about how he defines the rules of the world and the consequences of not following those rules. He’s a perfectionist and a very deliberate man. With him there’s not a wasted breathe, not a wasted word, not a wasted action. So that was easy to get behind. It’s sinister in its execution, but the mindset is something that makes sense to me.
So when he does something that violent and horrible, he’s just trying to maintain order?
That’s exactly it. He’s cleaning up a mess. He’s a very organized and intelligent guy who’s dealing with some lowlifes who’ve gotten sloppy, and Joe does not allow for sloppiness.
You almost have me convinced that Joe is a good guy. Which is frightening.
Well, he is a bad dude at heart, don’t get me wrong. But for an actor, it’s about understanding how a person thinks and then playing each circumstance honestly. Like with the chicken fellatio scene…
How does that make sense to him?
He’s also reading passages from the bible to her, basically reading the rules of the game out loud. For Joe, he’s dealing with these degrading people, so he’s going to degrade this woman to prove a point. He’s teaching her a lesson, that’s what it is. As sick as that is, that’s how he sees it.
So you’re working on a film, and you look at the production schedule, and it says something like, “Sex Scene With Gina Gershon,” and if you’re a male heterosexual human being with a functioning brain, your first thought is “I have the best job in the universe.”
(Laughs.) Right, right.
But then you realize, “Oh yeah, it’s the chicken fellatio scene.” And suddenly it isn’t so awesome anymore.
It really isn’t.
Hollywood can be so unfair.
I thought about and worried about that scene for a long time. I had it tabbed in my script as “This is a big day.” It’s a tricky scene, and I knew it would be a tough one to pull off. As an actor, it’s not like there’s something else out there you can use as a reference. You can’t say “Oh, I should watch that scene in the Brando movie again, just to see what we’re going for.”
That great chicken leg fellatio scene in Last Tango In Paris.
Such a classic, right? We were doing something completely original. And that’s exciting but also terrifying.
What was it like on the set? Was it awkward?
It wasn’t that awkward. Everyone was a pro, and we all signed up for this. We’d all read the same script. We all knew the movie was cheerfully amoral and heavily disturbing. You weren’t going to get near that day on the shoot and then say, “Heeeey, wait a minute! I’m kind of uncomfortable with this.” That’s too little too late.
Was it hard to keep a straight face? The whole premise is kinda ridiculous.
There wasn’t really. Because as ridiculous as it was, it was also incredibly intense. I’m trying to think about when we all had a final laugh. It probably wasn’t until after we did the last take. That’s when it felt okay to giggle and make chicken jokes. The whole time we were shooting, Gina and I would check in with each other. We tried to do that after each take.
It was that daunting?
Well, you never know. It’s not a happy moment for either of these characters. You just want to make sure it’s not messing with anybody’s head. So when it’s over, you’re like “Is everything okay? You okay?” I mean, it’s not supposed to be a comfortable scene. Gina’s character is not supposed to feel comfortable in that moment. But you still want to make sure, as actors, that you’re both in a safe place.
I was going to ask if that’s typical for sex scenes, but I honestly can’t remember if you’ve done a sex scene before.
I’ve done a few, I think. There was a love scene in Two For The Money.
I think you did something vaguely alluding to sex in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
Yeah, maybe, I don’t know. It’s weird, that’s not the thing I take away from any of these experiences. I don’t remember them as “Oh yeah, that’s the movie where I did that great love scene.”
I don’t know if it counts as a sex scene, but you were with a very naked Terry Bradshaw in Failure to Launch.
Ah yeah, man. That was great.
Did he teach you everything you ever needed to know about being comfortable with on-screen nudity?
I still have tricks I learned from ol’ Terry that I haven’t used yet. Terry is great, man. After that scene, it was adorable, he got so worried. He was holding his head, going, “Oh god, what have I done? What have I done? My mama’s gonna be so mad at me.” I thought he was kidding so I started laughing, and he looked at me with this sincerely devastated expression, and he was like, “I’m not kidding! She’s going to kill me. What have I done? What? Have I? Done?” He was a great spirit, man.
Have you ever regretted being naked in a movie?
Not really, no. It’s just about being comfortable in the moment, and making sure everybody you’re working with is comfortable. It’s a very different thing than what it was even ten years ago. With social media and the Internet, you have to be more careful. People will sneak cameras and shit on the set, and the last thing you need as an actor is to feel like you’re exposing yourself. You’re exposing yourself in that scene, but it’s in the context of that movie, it’s not meant for the general public, as something to be shared online like it’s a private moment that somebody snapped from your bedroom window. So you clear the set and make sure nobody’s there that doesn’t need to be there. You have to create a safe place for an actor to do his or her work and not think about, you know, TMZ or whatever. An actor shouldn’t be thinking about the outside world at that moment. He should be focusing on the world of his or her character, and that’s it. You need to feel safe.
I’ve heard that from actresses before, but I didn’t realize actors felt the same way.
Oh yeah. I need to feel safe as much as anybody. I need to feel protected. It’s a very vulnerable thing, being naked on a movie set. You feel very exposed. You’ve got lights on you, everybody in the crew, they’re all focused on you. It’s a weird feeling.
You must’ve felt especially exposed in Magic Mike.
That’s another case of “This is what you signed on for.” You’re doing a stripper movie, you’re probably going to be naked. You’re going to be up there on a 40 foot screen, sometimes in nothing but a thong.
If there’s a better motivation to work out, I haven’t heard it.
The moment I signed on, I was like “Let’s go get in great stripper shape!” Cause that’s part of what these guys do for their job. Every day, Dallas goes to the gym, he gets a spray tan, and he works on his pre-stripping monologues, the sexy dialogue he says to the audience to get them in the mood. His body is his temple, and his business. If he’s not in shape, he’s losing money. You don’t get tips if you’ve got a beer gut.
But even if you can bounce a quarter off your abs, a thong is still terrifying.
Oh definitely. Putting on a thong is a leap of faith.
You can work out 12 hours a day, but it’s not going to fill out a thong.
The weird thing about a thong is you forget it’s there. It’s very lightweight and it can be removed easily. Before I went on the set, I tried to check out all the angles, just to make sure I was covered. You know what I mean?
Things have a way of slipping out.
Exactly, man, yeah. I had this idea that the key to being comfortable in a thong was being able to have normal conversations with somebody while wearing it. So you’re in a thong, but you’re able to talk to somebody about what they had for lunch or last night’s baseball game, and you don’t even think about the fact that you’re wearing a thong. I tried, but I never got to that point where it wasn’t weird.
But you felt okay wearing it on stage?
Not as much as I wanted, but it comes to a point where you’d like, “Fuck it, let’s do this.” You just have to do it and not think about it anymore. Let it rip!
Were you ever tempted to do the old Spinal Tap trick?
The what? What’s that?
Stuffing your pants with a cucumber wrapped in aluminum foil.
No, no, no. I chose not to do any stuffing.
Is it true you kept some of your outfits from Magic Mike?
Oh yeah, definitely.
Especially thongs. I brought my entire wardrobe home. I usually do that with all of my films.
For what reason?
Just for a keepsake. They’re memories. And maybe they’ll be valuable someday. Plus, you know what they’re good for? When the kids get old enough to dress up for Halloween.
I hope you’re not talking about the Magic Mike costumes.
No, no, no. Although that’d be funny. No, I mean everything else. I got Wooderson’s pants from Dazed and Confused. I got his Ted Nugent t-shirt and his boots. I got the whole outfit.
That’s reason enough to come to your house for Halloween. You could ring the doorbell and there’s Wooderson.
You know you’re going to get good candy.
Maybe you shouldn’t eat it.
Well, it depends on whether you have any plans for the rest of the night. (Laughs.)
Did you consciously play Wooderson as creepy?
Creepy? You think he’s creepy?
I kinda do, yeah. Even his name sounds like it was calculated to make us think about his penis.
Here’s why Wooderson’s not creepy. I mean, I understand why you’d think that. He’s a 25 year old guy trying to pick up high school chicks. It’s a little Lothario.
When I think of creepy mustaches, I think of him.
(Laughs.) Okay, okay, that’s fair. But here’s what I love about Wooderson. A creep is someone who’s lying or getting away with shit. Right? Does that seem fair?
A creep is someone who claims he’s one thing but he’s actually another. But that’s not what Wooderson is about. He’s blatant. He’s a pretty simple guy. For him, there are four ingredients to happiness. This is something I thought about before I stepped foot on the set. When I’m doing a character, I always try to think, “What’s my man about?” You don’t want to have too long of a list because it can get confusing. With Wooderson, he’s about four things. He’s about his car, women, rock and roll, and pot. That’s it for him.
That’s all he needs?
That’s all he needs! If it doesn’t involve those four things, Wooderson shouldn’t be there. If it involves four out of those four things, Wooderson’s in heaven. If it involves three out of those four things, Wooderson’s doing pretty damn good. If it involves two out of those four things, he’s definitely looking for two more but he’s alright. If it just involves one of those four things, he’s probably a little antsy.
If that’s all it takes to make him happy, he’s going to have a pretty blissful life.
Exactly, man. And I think he does. He’s all about finding what makes him content. And that’s what I find so admirable about it. He’s realized that the happiest he ever was and probably ever will be was at high school. So why gravitate away from that? You’ve already found the best your life is going to be. Why run away from that? Everyone in the world could tell Wooderson, “Man, you’ve got to quit doing this. Twenty years from now, you’re going to be a sad case.” But I’m pretty sure he’d just look at them and go, “I didn’t ask your permission. I’m going to live my life the way I want to live my life. If it goes wrong, I’m the one who has to figure it out.”
That seems awfully emotionally mature for Wooderson.
(Laughs.) Well, words to that effect.
I think he’d say something more along the lines of (with a crappy Wooderson impression) “Alright, alright, alright.”
(With an amazing Wooderson impression.) Alright, alright, alright!
I’m just going to come right out and admit this to you, Matthew. My entire reason for doing this interview was to get you to say that line.
Well, mission accomplished, my man. You know, you could’ve just asked.
Would you say it again?
(As Wooderson.) Alright, alright, alright!
I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of hearing you say that.
Those were actually the very first words I ever said on screen. “Alright, alright, alright.” And do you know why I said “alright” three times?
I have no idea.
I’m going to give you a callback to something I said five minutes ago. Because I’m in my car, I’m high, I’ve got my rock n’ roll, but I don’t have the chick. So I got three out of four that matter to me. So it’s just (with full Wooderson swagger) alright, alright, alright! There’s no fourth alright. I gotta pull into the Top Notch and pick up the fourth, and then it’s…
Alright, alright, alright, alright.
You got it, brother!
I’m not even joking. That’s exactly where it came from. It was very calculated. It was three “alrights” because I only had three of the things Wooderson needs to survive.
You’ve reached a weird point in your career where everyone does an impression of you. You’re like the new Jack Nicholson.
(Laughs.) I’ll take it.
In the same way everybody feels like they can do the “Here’s Johnny” bit from The Shining, everybody can do a version of you doing “Alright, alright, alright.”
I guess that’s true.
Are you okay with that? Or do you wish it was something else?
Nah, it’s fine. I’ve got a great sense of humor, and if I’m able to say or do something in a movie that people feel like they want to repeat, that’s hugely flattering,
When you’re iconic enough to parody, you’re in the same cultural sphere as Bill Cosby or Jimmy Stewart. You’re so recognizable that you’re a cliche.
Which is great. That’s all any actor could hope for. If you said a line in a movie twenty years ago and people still think it’s funny and relevant and timeless, I would be insane to complain about that.
Judd Apatow made a sequel to Knocked Up with two minor characters from the original. Have you or (Dazed and Confused director) Richard Linklater ever thought about doing sequel with Wooderson?
Don’t tease us, Matthew.
No, no, we’ve talked about it. Rick (Linklater) and I chat all the time about what a Wooderson movie would be like. It hasn’t gotten as far as a script, but we’ve definitely talked about it. The closest it’s gotten is a video I did for Butch Walker called “Synthesizers.” I played Wooderson in that.
I saw it. It was amazing.
It looks like it was made freakin’ yesterday. That’s what I love about it. Nothing about Wooderson has changed.
Except apparently now he can play the trumpet.
And that’s really saying something, especially for Wooderson.
It means he found a hobby that isn’t cars, women, rock and roll, or pot.
And good for him. But what I really love about the video is that it’s like Wooderson is trapped in time. Everything in the club is very modern and 2012. But Wooderson’s still Wooderson, man. Everything is just (in Wooderson drawl) right on time, right in line.
Was Linklater okay with you reprising the character without him?
He was. I called him and said, “Look, I want to do Wooderson again. Is that cool with you?” And Rick’s like, “Fine with me. And thanks for asking, because we hold what Wooderson does in the future in such high regard.” He was being completely sarcastic. But I still wanted to check in with him, since he wrote Wooderson and we co-created him together. It’s not just my thing. But he always tells me how much he loves seeing different embodiments of Wooderson show up in other characters I play.
Probably more than I remember. Dallas in Magic Mike definitely had a little Wooderson in him, right down to saying “Alright, alright, alright.”
Maybe Dallas is what Wooderson turned into.
Noooooo. Not a chance.
You don’t think so?
I don’t think Wooderson would want to put that much effort into anything. He’s not nearly as much of a capitalist as Dallas. Dallas is a hardcore, hard-working capitalist. He doesn’t just want to be successful in his line of work, he wants to be the messiah of the male revue world. He wants to be the ruler of it. Wooderson didn’t have those kinds of ambitions.
Do you have any of Dallas’ ambition?
Not to that extreme. It’s not just ambition with him, he’s a performer. He’s an MC, a poet, a rapper, a lightning rod. He’s the host, the guy who has to get everyone in the mood and keep everything lathered up and make sure the ladies in the audience are opening their purses. He’s so extraverted, and such a skilled performer, which is a challenge to play. I’m not a performer in that way. I don’t know how to work a room. It’s a real skill. You have to know when to take it big, and when to take it down to a whisper.
Dallas is the old man at his club, a guy in his 40s in an industry that’s all about youth and virility. You’re 40 now, right?
I’m 42, actually. I’ve always been wide open about sharing my age.
Do you feel 42?
No, no, not at all. I feel 27. Not everyone who is 42 is 42. You know what I mean? I don’t give a damn about the number. I don’t care if you’re 80, if you can pull off 27, go for it, baby.
There are good things about being 40. But then there’s the annoying stuff, like prostate exams. Have you had one of those yet?
Ummm. No. I haven’t. You say it’s coming?
If you’re 42, yeah, you should look into it.
Yeah, okay. (Long pause.) I try to stay away from doctors as much as possible.
You want to be an 90 year old dude someday, playing bongos in the nude and pissing off his neighbors, you need to let a doctor stick his finger in your butt occasionally.
(Laughs.) I guess so.
And that was my not-so-subtle way of segueing into the bongo incident. (McConaughey was arrested in 1999 at his Austin, Texas home for resisting arrest and noise disturbance, reportedly playing bongos in the nude.)
People still want to hear about that?
I can only speak for myself, but I find it fascinating. I have so many questions. You were smoking weed at the time, right?
I don’t know if I should talk about that.
Okay, sure, that’s fine. Let’s just talk hypothetically. I don’t know if you smoke marijuana or have ever smoked marijuana, but speaking as somebody who has, it feels like weed has changed in recent years.
I remember when you could smoke a joint casually, and it was no big deal. But now, you take one puff and it feels like you’re in a Beatles cartoon. I can’t even smell marijuana anymore without feeling like I’m having an out-of-body experience.
(Laughs.) No, no, I know what you mean.
I’m not asking you to implicate yourself.
I get you. Look, I’ll just say this. Number one, you’re correct. It has changed. Very few people sit around and pass a joint anymore. They smoke this hydroponic stuff. And from what I’ve seen, it’s a very different world. What I remember from when my brother was younger—and he’s 49 now—when he was in school, and I guess when I was too, weed was just something you did and everybody did to get a little giggly.
That’s what I’m saying!
It was the socialization of passing a joint around. And everyone kind of chuckled and it was harmless and that was it. It’s not like that anymore. I’ve see people smoke a joint and their subplots become unmanageable. And I don’t think that’s what they’re going for. I’ve asked them, “Dude, why are you doing this if you don’t have any fun?” And they’re like, “It’s just weed.”
It hasn’t been “just weed” in decades.
It really hasn’t. Weed is obviously not what it used to be.
Forget the weed. Let’s talk about the bongos.
Is that something you look back on and say “Never again?”
Well, I’ll just say this about it. I still play bongos.
God bless you.
And I love percussion. I have about forty different drums that I’ve gathered from around the world. The lesson learned from that incident is that if you’re going to play drums at 3am, shut your window.
I have a 15 month old son right now, and playing bongos in the nude is one of his favorite activities.
There you go, man. Just ask your kid, he’ll explain it to you. Before the forbidden fruit was eaten and anyone thought to cover up with a fig leaf, Adam and Eve were playing bongos in the nude.
You have two kids right now, right?
A boy and girl. Levi’s four and Vida is two and a half. And we have a third on the way.
Are they nude bongo enthusiasts like their dad?
They’re into their own things. I listen to a lot more pop music than I did before having kids. They love Foster the People. That “Pumped Up Kicks” song comes on, and my kids are dancing, man. A good pop beat is all they need. You see something like that, you see your kids stand up and start dancing, and you’re like, “Well, you can’t argue with that.”
You haven’t forced any of your musical tastes on them?
I introduce them to certain things, but kids are like coyotes. They’re stubborn little rascals. Especially the four year old. Once you say, “You’ve got to hear this,” it’s a guarantee that they’re gonna hate it. I’m learning to use reverse psychology on them. I’ll be like, “Naw, you don’t want to bother with this crap.” And then they’ll go, “No, I kinda like that song.” Aaaaah-ha! I gotcha!
The consensus of pretty much every journalist writing about you lately is that you’re “reinventing” yourself. Does that feel like what you’re doing?
Reinvention feels a little strong. I’m not sure I can shake hands with the word reinvention. I’ve heard it described a different way that I kinda like. McConaughssance!
As in a McConaughey Renaissance?
Yeah. That’s pretty clever. I like that. McConaughssance!
Let’s go with that then. How much of your McConaughssance was calculated?
I made a conscious choice to do these things and change my choices for awhile. But it’s not like I put a full stop on my career and said, “I’ve really got to change things.” I don’t deal with my career or my life like that. It’s a different chapter, but it’s all part of the same book.
The new movies are certainly a big stretch from your rom-com days. When you look back on those movies, are you happy you made them?
I’m not arrogant enough to look back on my career and criticize my choices. It’s really not my place.
Why wouldn’t it be?
Everything we do in life is part of a plan. Sometimes you learn what that plan is today, sometimes you learn about it tomorrow, and sometimes it takes you years to figure it out. Sometimes you learn about it on your deathbed. Sometimes you leave this life without ever learning why. But you’re going to find out. You’re laughing, but I’m being serious.
No, no, I believe you. I just had this image of you on your death bed going, “Oh I get it now. That’s why I did Fool’s Gold.”
I can tell you that right now. Romantic comedies were very good to me. And I was good to them. They came with beautiful, wonderful paychecks with extra zeros on the end. They’ve allowed me to live a large part of the life I get to live. I’m gracious to them. I’m just doing some different things right now. I’m not saying I’ll never do another romantic comedy. No way am I saying that.
You’re just flexing a different muscle.
That’s it. I’m flexing a different muscle. And it is a muscle. It’s as hard to do something light as it is to do something dark. With one of those movies, you’re not supposed to dig deep and go, “I’ve got to find the reality in this character.” No. No you’re not. If that’s what you think, you’re in the wrong movie.
So it’s the inverse of Killer Joe.
That’s right, exactly. You don’t want to do the chicken fellatio scene, you’re in the wrong movie. You want to uncover dark secrets about the human psyche, then don’t do romantic comedies. They’re not about reality. They’re a lofty reality and you’re not supposed to love as hard, hate as hard, laugh as hard, hurt as hard. Those aren’t the emotions that hold it together. If you do that, you’ll sink the ship.
If you’re on a plane and Failure to Launch is the inflight movie, do you watch it?
Nope. Not going to happen. And not just because it’s one of mine. I like dramas. Especially if it’s on a small screen. Some of my best movie watching experiences were on a plane. I saw Beautiful Girls again recently. Remember Beautiful Girls?
I love that movie.
I’d seen it in a theater and really liked it. But watching it on a plane, I loved it. There’s just something about the intimate experience of a small screen. And being on a plane, when you’re eating that plane food and it tastes so damn good because you’re on a plane. And you’re having a glass of wine. You’re on your own time, and nobody can contact you. They can’t! You can’t be reached. You can’t call them even if you wanted to. It’s beautiful.
If you could pick one of your movies to watch on a plane, to drink that glass of wine and have that intimate, uninterrupted experience with, what would it be?
(Long pause.) I can’t think of one. If I’m flipping through channels at home and one of my movies comes on, I’ll always skip it. There’s something uncomfortable about it. Even the ones I like more than others, I can’t watch them.
Are you too critical when you watch yourself?
No, I just can’t detach from it. A movie is like a two hour song. And when you make a song, you hear it note by note. You hear things in the song that other people don’t. I have a razor sharp memory of every single take I’ve ever done. And every scene. So I’ll watch one of my movies and every thought will be, “Oh, why’d the director choose that take? I thought the other one we did was better.” It’s exhausting. By the end of the movie, I am whipped, man. That’s not sitting back and taking the ride. But I’ve gotten better.
Better at watching your own work?
Better at not dissecting everything. In the last five years, I’ve finally been able to do it. Sometimes it doesn’t happen until the third screening, but I get there. When I can watch a movie I’m in and I don’t see see myself up there, then I know I’m doing something right.
(This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, on MensHealth.com.)