Matthew McConaughey Sheds Shirtless Image on ‘True Detectives’

Celebrity Q&A, Featured Article, TV Shows
on February 23, 2014

It was great to see Matthew McConaughey on HBO TV series “True Detectives.” How did that happen?
—Carter McNutt, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Matthew McConaughey has worked over the past few years to change his shirtless, “himbo” image that is a result of the numerous romantic comedies in which he has starred, to that of a more “serious” actor. He began to look for more earnest roles — not that he is putting down the romcoms. He says they aren’t easy to do. Rather, it was his job is to make them look that way.

But in his 40s, he decided it was time to stretch, so he began the transition with a role in “The Paperboy,” and moved on to “Mud,” “Magic Mike” and most recently the “Dallas Buyers Club,” for which he received an Academy Award nomination. “True Detective,” which is a limited HBO series about a ritualistic murder and the two Louisiana detectives involved in solving the case, was just the next script that caught his interest.

“As we all know, it’s a different time in television,” says the Uvalde, Texas native, 44. “All I know is I read the first two episodes, and I was in. I was, at the time, looking for quality. So, it wasn’t something that I said, ‘I’m in, but wait a minute. It’s TV.’ That transition [between movies and TV] is much more seamless now than ever. So to me, it was, ‘Television? Great. Let’s go to the right place to do it.'”

Funnily enough, McConaughey originally read for the role of Detective Martin Hart, which ended up being played by his buddy Woody Harrelson. The two met when they both starred in “EDTV.” Harrelson is more known for playing wacko characters, but McConaughey says the part of Detective Rust Cohle spoke to him.

“I understood objectively why they would be coming to me with the role of Hart,” McConaughey says. “I understood that it was probably closer to some of my past work. But Cohle was the voice that I remember writing down, [thinking], ‘I can’t wait to turn the page and hear what’s coming out of this guy’s mouth.’ I was like, ‘You know what? That [type of role] I have not done, but boy, I know who this guy is. I love this guy’s mind. Let me in.’ So I went back and said, ‘I’d love to, but I really would like to be Cohle.’ That was it.”