24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Matthew McConaughey

No 'Butler' for Matthew McConaughey; 'Dallas Buyer's Club' advances

June 7, 2012 |  4:00 am

Matthew mcconaughey
After years percolating, the film “Dallas Buyer’s Club” -- about a redneck Texan who contracted HIV in the 1980s and began importing experimental foreign remedies in the early days of the AIDS epidemic -- is moving ahead this fall, actor Matthew McConaughey says.

After traveling to the Cannes Film Festival last month to promote two films in which he appears -- Jeff Nichols’ “Mud” and Lee Daniels’ “The Paperboy” -- McConaughey is now in the midst of publicity for the Steven Soderbergh male stripper movie “Magic Mike,” opening June 29.

“Dallas Buyers” has been gestating for years -- Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling were said to be involved at various points, along with directors Mark Forster and Gosling's "Lars and the Real Girl" helmer, Craig Gillespie. Producers came and went. But McConaughey, who’s been involved for a while -- rights to the project with him attached were on sale at Cannes in 2011 -- says he’s currently working on the script with Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee (“C.R.A.Z.Y.”) and trying to drop pounds to take on the role of Ron Woodroof, an electrical contractor who developed a reputation as the nerviest cowboy in the AIDS underground.

A 1992 Dallas Morning News story followed Woodroof as he smuggled 500,000 pills across the border from Mexico into Laredo in the trunk of a rented Lincoln Continental -- one of hundreds of such trips he made. His actions put him on a collision course with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which was bent on keeping the drugs out of the country. McConaughey described Woodroof as "a homophobe redneck cowboy" who ends up "with a transsexual assistant" in his pill business.

“It was very tough to get the money for that one, being the subject material and it’s a period piece,” McConaughey said. “We’ve been really, really close for a long time. We’ve been going back to getting a number that Jean-Marc felt like he could make it for and still give us the right creative license to tell it the way we need to. Sometimes they just happen. There’s momentum right now. Some things I’ve got going on are helping whoever’s financing, going, ‘Oh that’s a better idea now’ … We’re out-enduring some people because we’re staying on it.” He did not give specifics on the budget.

With McConaughey focused on “Dallas Buyer’s Club,” he says he won’t be re-teaming with Daniels for his next film, “The Butler,” about White House butler Eugene Allen, who served eight presidents over three decades. McConaughey was to play the role of John F. Kennedy, which would have required him to trade his Texas drawl for Kennedy’s Boston accent.

“ 'The Butler,' it’s not going to happen for me,” he said. “It was going to take some good hard work on my part for sure -- and it was more than an accent. I’ve done accents before. And you can see you can tell when it’s just coming out from the neck up. When you see it done well, they walk different, they sit different -- it’s coming out of their feet. There was a lot of work that I was looking forward to putting in on that. But for certain true reasons, it’s not going to happen.”

McConaughey said his decision to not do “The Butler” was not related to the mixed reception Daniels' “The Paperboy” received at Cannes. “No, not at all, I had a wonderful time working with Lee,” McConaughey said. “Lee’s become a good friend of mine.”


Matthew McConaughey engaged to Camila Alves

Cannes 2012: Jeff Nichols cleans up with 'Mud'

HBO picks up Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson's 'True Detective'

-- Julie Makinen

Matthew McConaughey accepts an award Spike TV's "Guys Choice Awards" at Sony Pictures Studios on Saturday. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images 

Cannes 2012: Festival offers only small hints of Oscar season

May 28, 2012 |  5:00 am

Michael Haneke's "Amour" is one of the films that emerged from the Cannes Film Festival with Oscar heat

This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

CANNES, France -- As the world's most prestigious film festival drew to a close Sunday, the 2012 awards picture remains nearly as much of a mystery as it was when Cannes began.

In contrast to 2011, when films such as "The Artist" and "The Tree of Life" established themselves as best-picture contenders on the Croisette, this year's edition of the festival offered only small hints of the season to come.

Gaining the biggest foothold -- and offering the most intriguing questions -- was "Amour," Michael Haneke's examination of an elderly man who must care for his wife after she becomes the victim of a stroke.

PHOTOS: Cannes 2012

Sony Pictures Classics plans to release the movie this year and would be justified in holding hopes for major Oscar consideration. The French-language film garnered critical raves and standing ovations here, and on Sunday capped off its magic run by winning the Palme d'Or, Cannes' top prize. The movie tells a universally human story and centers on older people, which some pundits believe is an advantage with Oscar voters.

But a place in the best-picture hunt is far from a sure thing. Foreign-language titles are a tough sell to the entirety of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes on the top prize. Indeed, Haneke's last film, the German-language period drama "The White Ribbon," won the Palme d’Or as well but was only nominated in the Oscar foreign-language category and didn’t win.

"Amour" could well score acting nominations for its two leads, the octogenarians Jean-Louis Tringitgnant and Emanuelle Riva. Holding almost iconic status in France, the elderly actors return to the screen for the first time in years, giving raved-about performances and offering a compelling back story that rivals anything in "The Artist" (and just as many spelling challenges).

A number of other actors established themselves as contenders at Cannes. The events of the last 12 days made it clear we should probably keep an eye out for Garrett Hedlund, who plays Dean Moriarty in "On the Road," as he takes a significant leap from his "Tron" days. "No" star Gael Garcia Bernal could also be in the conversation as an advertising executive called on to run a political campaign against Augusto Pinochet in 1980s Chile (the Spanish-language film also has a strong shot at a foreign-language Oscar nomination).

The X factor on the actor side is Matthew McConaughey, who dazzled as an enigmatic homeless man in Jeff Nichols' well-received "Mud." But the film will need to score a U.S. distribution deal first.

The festival was useful at helping awards watchers cross a few movies off their list -- at least in pencil. Although it's very early and things could yet turn around, the kind of talk garnered by "Lawless," the John Hillcoat bootlegging drama starring Shia LaBeouf that the Weinstein Co. will open at the end of August, doesn't at this point suggest a major Oscar run, though if any executive could reverse that, it's Harvey Weinstein.

And anyone banking on a Lee Daniels return to the Oscar podium will probably want to shelve those thoughts. The director’s follow-up to "Precious" drew a large number of negative reviews and reactions, as did fellow English-language pic "Cosmopolis." Neither film comes out of the festival with much momentum.

Meanwhile, Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" could seek to take a page from the playbook of "Midnight in Paris," which was nominated for a best-picture Oscar and a bevy of other awards. Like that film, "Moonrise" opened Cannes and represents a director's feel-good switch. But to get that kind of attention, it would probably have to start approaching "Midnight"-level box office.

Finally, there's Brad Pitt's "Killing Them Softly." The Andrew Dominik-directed hit-man picture garnered respectable reviews and comes after two Oscar nominations for the actor's and director's previous collaboration, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." Will the genre picture have a shot? It could at least be a factor on the performance side, with Scoop McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn joining Pitt in drawing acclaim.

For the Record, 3:21 a.m. May 29: An earlier version of this post suggested that "Cosmopolis" did not have U.S. distribution. It has landed a deal from eOne.


Cannes 2012: "Amour" captures festival's top prize

Cannes 2012: "Amour" director Haneke says he hasn't mellowed

Cannes 2012: A festival filled with wild (and divisive) experiments

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: A scene from "Amour." Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Cannes 2012: Adam Yauch’s label buys film about reality TV

May 28, 2012 | 12:31 am

Adam Yauch's film label Oscilloscope has acquire "Reality," Matteo Garone's follow-up to "Gomorrah," at the Cannes Film Festival
CANNES, France -- A trio of movies from the Cannes Film Festival have found homes in the U.S. and will soon be headed stateside.

"Reality," Matteo Garone's dramatic comedy about a Naples fish vendor's obsession with the show “Big Brother," has been acquired by Oscilloscope Laboratories, the label founded by the late Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch. The Italian-language film is the company's first acquisition since Yauch died several weeks ago.

In a statement, the company's David Laub paid tribute to Oscilloscope's late leader. "This is exactly the kind of film Adam Yauch wanted to champion, and we are extremely proud to have it join the Oscilloscope family," he said.

PHOTOS: Cannes 2012

"Holy Motors," Leos Carax's surrealist romp through the streets of Paris, has been picked up by upstart Indomnia Media. Starring Denis Lavant, the well-received French-language movie centers on a shape-shifting man who gets role-playing "assignments" that take him from being a motion-capture actor to a vagabond old woman.

Indomnia, which has offices in Los Angeles and a large production stage in the Dominican Republic, previously acquired a number of independent titles, including two films that played Sundance, the hip-hop story "Filly Brown" and the missing-child thriller "The Imposter."

"Like Someone In Love," Abbas’ Kiarostami's Tokyo-set examination of the unlikely relationship between a call girl and a professor, has been acquired by Sundance Selects, the AMC-owned sister company to IFC Films. The move marks the AMC family's latest pickup of a film that played in Cannes; the company previously acquired titles including the Kristen Stewart-starring “On the Road,” Romanian Cristian Mungiu's "Beyond the Hills" and Ken Loach's latest, "The Angel's Share."

Release dates have not been set for "Reality," "Holy Motors" or "Like Someone in Love."

A follow-up to Garrone's well-received 2008 mob drama "Gomorrah," "Reality" was not much discussed when it premiered early in the festival. But it captured Cannes' Grand Prix, the festival's second-highest honor, on Sunday night. The movie examines the downward spiral of Luciano, a working-class husband and father, after he becomes fixated on the idea of landing a spot on "Grande Fratello," the Italian equivalent of "Big Brother."

Indomnia will try to turn "Holy Motors" into a cult hit after it gained an ardent band of followers at the festival. The movie also had a hard-core group of fans at several mainstream distributors, but they were ultimately overruled by colleagues who thought it simply too difficult to market.

The Iranian Kiarostami, for his part, continued his recent tendency to work abroad rather than try to create films within the restrictive system of his own country. Asked about his decision, he told 24 Frames, "I don't want to spend what little time I have left in my life sitting behind closed doors wondering whether I'll be able to finish what I started."

With the acquisitions, nearly all of the major foreign titles from the festival's competition section have found homes.

But a group of North American movies remain distributor-less, including Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy," David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis" and, most notably, "Mud," Jeff Nichols' well-regarded and crowd-pleasing story of two Arkansas boys who encounter an enigmatic stranger.


Cannes 2012: Iranian filmmaking at two extremes

Cannes 2012: "Gomorrah" director aims at sins of reality TV

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: A scene from "Reality." Credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories

Cannes 2012: Jeff Nichols cleans up with 'Mud'

May 26, 2012 |  8:12 am


CANNES, France -- Looking a little like a kid caught swiping some candy, Jeff Nichols said what everyone in the room was thinking -- there is a lot of Mark Twain in his new movie "Mud."

"If you're going to steal, steal from someone who's really good," he told reporters with an affable shrug after his film premiered to extremely enthusiastic applause Saturday morning at the Cannes Film Festival.

At 33 and with just two features under his belt, Nichols came to Cannes as the youngest and least experienced of the North American directors, an estimable group that includes Wes Anderson, Lee Daniels and David Cronenberg. But he emerged with perhaps the best-received film of them all with "Mud," a coming-of-age drama graced occasionally by thriller touches.

An homage to "The Goonies" and "Stand By Me" as much as to "Huckleberry Finn," "Mud" is perhaps the most accessible and unabashedly crowd-pleasing movie to play among the roughly dozen English-language films here. It is also more of a feel-good tale than Nichols had been known for with his previous work, which includes the moody man-unhinged piece "Take Shelter" from 2011.

"I never considered a bleaker ending for this movie," he said at the press conference. "I had enough of those."

While "Mud" follows a criss-crossing pattern of relationships, its main focus is 14-year-old Ellis (previously unknown Southern teen Tye Sheridan) and his sidekick Neck (ditto, played by Jacob Lofland), and what happens when the Arkansans escape to an island downriver from Ellis' houseboat home only to find an enigmatic vagabond named Mud (Matthew McConaughey).

Which means that, like a certain iconic American novel, we're watching two young boys in rural America taking to the river and coming upon a mysterious stranger.

Unlike the escaped slave of Twain's Jim, Mud, it turns out, is on the run because he committed a crime to win the heart of longtime romantic interest Juniper (Reese Witherspoon, somber and un-Reese-like), a woman who has never fully returned his devotion.

Continue reading »

William Friedkin to serve as L.A. Film Fest's guest director

May 15, 2012 | 11:09 am

Killer joe matthew mcconaughey
William Friedkin, the Academy Award-winning director of 1971's "The French Connection," will serve as guest director of the Los Angeles Film Festival and will screen his new NC-17 movie, "Killer Joe," on June 15, organizers said Tuesday. "Killer Joe" will be shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Friedkin will participate in an onstage interview.

The film follows 22-year-old Chris (Emile Hirsch), who is in debt to a drug lord. He must hire a hit man to dispatch his mother, whose $50,000 life insurance policy benefits his sister (Juno Temple). Chris finds Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a creepy Dallas cop who moonlights as a contract killer. When Chris can't pay Joe upfront, Joe sets his sights on Dottie as collateral for the job.

Festival organizers also announced that composer Danny Elfman, chef Michael Voltaggio and record producer Raphael Saadiq would serve as the festival's artists-in-residence, curating screenings and conversations related to their specialties. Elfman will present hand-picked film clips featuring his favorite scores on June 16, and will discuss how film music has shaped his career. Voltaggio, the famed "Top Chef" who owns the award-winning restaurant Ink in Los Angeles, will present Bib Giraldi's "Dinner Rush" on June 20, followed by a conversation.

Saadiq will present a screening of his choice on June 15, followed by a conversation with KCRW-FM's Chris Douridas.

The L.A. Film Festival runs from June 14 to June 24.


Woody Allen's 'To Rome With Love' to open L.A. Film Festival

Film Independent announces lineup for Los Angeles Film Festival

-- Nicole Sperling

Photo: Matthew McConaughey stars as the title character  in William Friedkin's movie "Killer Joe."  Credit: Skip Bolen/LD Entertainment

‘Killer Joe’ trailer: Will NC-17 boost the McConaughey pic?

May 8, 2012 |  1:52 pm

The new trailer for William Friedkin’s ‘Killer Joe,” which centers on a Dallas cop who is hired as a contract killer, features plenty of deadly serious scenes. Matthew McConaughey, as said cop, ominously flicks his lighter. Juno Temple, as the daughter of the intended victim, manages her best innocent look -- or is it her best manipulator look? Emile Hirsch gets beaten up early and often as the desperate man who hired said killer.

What isn't present in the trailer for the revenge thriller are signs of the infamous fried-chicken scene that landed  jaw-dropping reactions to the movie at the Toronto and South by Southwest film festivals  and an NC-17  from the Motion Picture Assn. (You can check out the trailer below.)

There is, however, an impossible-to-miss -- indeed, an eye-catching -- NC-17 at the top of the trailer. The rating is basically official now that the company’s upstart distributor, LD Entertainment, has decided not to cut the film ahead of its July 27 release.  (The decision contrasts with  the approach of the makers of another movie about a  killer, Jennifer Lynch’s “Chained,” which was also slapped with  an NC-17, but on which the filmmakers said they will cut an offending scene to land an R.)

Though the NC-17 may be the kiss of death for a broad commercial movie, it could be the best thing to happen to “Killer Joe.”  The movie has already generated pre-release press that would have been entirely nonexistent sans the ratings controversy. The rating could well be used as part of a banned-in-30-states type of marketing campaign (e.g., “the movie the MPAA doesn’t want you to see”).

Indeed, for a smaller release, the attention an NC-17 draws might be more valuable than the chance for some teens to see the movie with their parents. Think of it as a “Bully” maneuver, minus the Weinsteins.


PG-13: Some material may be appropriate for box-office success

MPAA upholds rating on NC-17 'Chained'

'Chained' director Lynch says she will cut the movie, but asks why she needs to

R rating for Prometheus: Will it hurt the film commercially?

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch in "Killer Joe." Credit: LD Entertainment

For 'The Lincoln Lawyer,' author Michael Connelly takes a tour of the Southland [Video]

July 7, 2011 |  3:59 pm

Back in March, 24 Frames took a ride around Los Angeles with Michael Connelly, the bestselling author behind the popular Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller novels. Connelly was touting the release of the film version of "The Lincoln Lawyer" starring Matthew McConaughey. (The actor came along too.) Now the author is getting behind the wheel to offer his own guided tour through the canyons, courthouses and cul-de-sacs that inspire his popular Southland-set thrillers. The full version of his tour can be seen on "The Lincoln Lawyer" Blu-ray DVD, which hits stores Tuesday, but you can catch an exclusive peek of Connelly talking about these settings below.


Matthew McConaughey and Michael Connelly talk about 'The Lincoln Lawyer'

Connelly's devils is L.A.'s details

The Source: Michael Connelly

 -- Steve Zeitchik

Long-planned dramedy 'Dallas Buyer's Club' close to getting made, Matthew McConaughey says

June 15, 2011 |  6:09 pm

When we asked readers last week to weigh in on the unproduced film they'd most like to see get made, one of the more intriguing replies on this blog and on Twitter was "The Dallas Buyer's Club."

A much-beloved script in Hollywood circles that even the big guns haven't been able to get off the ground -- Brad Pitt has tried; so has Ryan Gosling -- could it finally be ready to take flight with Matthew McConaughey, Hilary Swank and "Young Victoria" director Jean-Marc Vallee?

In an interview with 24 Frames, McConaughey said the independent movie is nearer than ever to getting financed and made.

"We're real close," he said. "The question is do we have enough days -- we need 40," he said, alluding to the length of production, a variable directly tied to a film's budget. Producers were raising money for the independent movie via the sale of foreign rights at the recently concluded Cannes Film Festival.

Although the actor has several projects in development, he said he was ready to rearrange his schedule and make this one next if the money comes through (though he acknowledged other top actors once attached to the project have said much the same thing).

Craig Borten's script  -- which over the years has been rewritten by some big names, including Guillermo Ariaga -- has been in development for about a decade. Inspired by real events, it tells of Ron Woodroof, a heterosexual Dallas electrician who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, during some of the darkest days of the disease. Doctors gave him just a few months to live, but he refused to accept their prognosis.

Instead, Woodroof created a smuggling operation for alternative treatments, then illegal, and got them into the hands of as many AIDS patients as he could. He wound up living six more years and saved or prolonged the lives of countless others.

McConaughey conceded that it's "not the type of fare that studios make; it's heavy subject matter." But  he said that "at the same time, it's hilarious in a very real way," with much of the humor coming out of the character's outsized personality.

McConaughey offers a different kind of dark comedy to Angelenos when his new movie "Bernie" opens the Los Angeles Film Festival. The film reunites the actor with Texas auteur Richard Linklater, who helped put him on the map with the suburban high-school comedy "Dazed and Confused" 18 years ago.

In "Bernie," McConaughey plays a district attorney who prosecutes a musicals-loving mortician (Jack Black) for a horrible crime committed in a backwoods eastern Texas town.

"This felt like being back in 'Dazed,' " McConaughey said of the reunion with the director. "It's Rick putting a long lens on something, showing you something behind the curtain. And you think, 'Could this really exist?' "


New shopper at Dallas Buyer's Club

Which unproduced movie should Hollywood make right now?

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Matthew McConaughey in "Dazed and Confused." Credit: Gramercy Pictures

Critical Mass: 'The Lincoln Lawyer' keeps his shirt on (mostly)

March 18, 2011 | 12:53 pm


OK, first the bad news: Matthew McConaughey keeps his shirt on for most of "The Lincoln Lawyer's" running time. (There is a brief bit of shirtlessness, but it's certainly not as notable as the actor's previous efforts.) Now, the good news: After a long run in the cinematic romantic comedy wasteland of "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" and "Fool's Gold," McConaughey has decided to star in a real movie and is getting some of the best reviews he's seen in years. In fact, based on the reviews of this film, it seems Matthew McConaughey is nigh invincible.

The Times' Betsy Sharkey had her problems with the film overall, but she lays those problems at the feet of screenwriter John Romano, who adapted mystery writer Michael Connelly's novel about a Los Angeles attorney who prefers to work out of the back of his chauffeured Lincoln Town Car. As for McConaughey, she has nothing but praise: " 'Lincoln's' saving grace is the way McConaughey manages to be magnetic against all odds. In Mick, there is a maturity not seen in his other work, a more nuanced performance as the actor exposes the uncertainty inside the smooth sarcasm, the decency behind the grifter's smile. If only we could have seen more of that, even with his shirt on."

Continue reading »

New shopper at 'Dallas Buyer's Club'? Mathew McConaughey

March 9, 2011 |  7:06 pm

EXCLUSIVE: There are few movie projects in Hollywood that have had as as many big-name supporters -- and stops and starts -- as "The Dallas Buyer's Club."

A 1980s-set true story about a trafficker in illegal AIDS drugs, the drama has attracted some of the movie world's biggest names over the past decade.

Brad Pitt was interested in starring in it for years. Top-flight filmmaker Marc Forster had at one time been set to direct it. "Babel" scribe Guillermo Ariaga once wrote a draft of the script, back in 2002. The producers of "Children of Men," Strike Entertainment, have long been on board to produce it.

In 2008, the project seemed to get new life when reports had Ryan Gosling coming on to star, with his "Lars & the Real Girl" director, Craig Gillespie, behind the camera. That didn't take either.

Now the project has a new A-lister and an emerging director who will again try to put it over the top: Matthew McConaughey is attached to star in the movie, the actor confirms, while "The Young Victoria" filmmaker Jean Marc Vallee will direct it.

The project fits with McConaughey's desire to delve further into serious roles  -- he stars in the upcoming  legal drama "The Lincoln Lawyer" -- and, as a bonus, is set in the actor's native Texas.

Once a Universal project, the film is now making a go of it as an independent. "It's not exactly the movie that studios are throwing money at these days," McConaughey told 24 Frames.

What's so appealing about "Dallas Buyer's Club"? Well, probably the same thing that's made it so difficult to get produced: a juicy but commercially challenging story.

The movie tells of Ron Woodroof, a heterosexual Dallas electrician who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, during some of the darkest days of the disease. Doctors gave him just a few months to live, but he refused to accept their prognosis. Instead, Woodroof created a smuggling operation for alternative treatments, then illegal, and got them into the hands of as many AIDS patients as he could. He wound up living six more years and saved or prolonged the lives of countless others.

McConaughey hopes he can be the man who finally gets Woodroof's tale told. "It's a great script and a great story," he said. "And I think it can be a great movie."

-- Steven Zeitchik



How stars divvied up the treasure: Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey is a baby daddy times two

Monkeying around in the Playing the Part video

Photo: Matthew McConaughey in "The Lincoln Lawyer." Credit: Saeed Adyani/Lionsgate Films



Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: