Matthew McConaughey transforms into Kenny Wells for his new film “Gold,” playing a fictitious mining prospector who follows his dreams to Indonesia. The tale is loosely inspired by the events of the Bre-X gold mining scandal of the ‘90s. The actor/producer spoke with us the flick and his 40 pound weight-gain for the role.
Fox News: How did you manage your physical transformation for this role?
McConaughey: It wasn’t something I just came up with out of the blue “oh wouldn’t it be a good idea?” No … The original guy was pretty thick… The Kenny Wellses I’ve met through my life were consumers of life – drink, smoke, eat, joy, rage, pain, everything – and got out of bed each day going “Today is going to be the day and I’m going to eat every bit of it up to survive.” And they were all larger. Like I say, Kenny’s not fat; Kenny is full. So if a character allows me to go try and mentally, spiritually, and physically inhabit them to this extent that’s so much fun for me at my job. It’s just an extra, another piece of the commitment. But it starts for me from the inside out and not every role needs or deems this … transformation that I went [through] here but damn sure is nice to find it when they do come along.
Fox News: You produced and starred in this film. What made you so passionate about this project?
McConaughey: I felt like I understood it from the inside out immediately and that very rarely happens. There’s always something that turns me on, but I have to work to try and understand it from the inside out. This one was one read. I said “I know the guy; I know the world; I know the relationships,” and that’s why I wanted to come on as a producer as well to help be a part of overseeing the entire story and how it was told. But the vortex of it for me was the spirit of this guy Kenny Wells. They don’t make movies about Kenny Wells. Kenny Wells is usually the second, third, or fourth sidekick in movies. This is the story about that guy who is at the bottom of the barrel, trying to keep his head above water, and buys a one way ticket to chase down a literal dream he had and gets it. It’s a great American archetype who hustles his way in the back door of the American dream.
Fox News: What is a dream of yours that you chased that you would not be deterred from?
McConaughey: I actually have had literal dreams that I went and chased down. I won’t give more details on that because they’re my secret but I have had literal dreams that were telling me to go somewhere and I chased them down and found what I wanted. But Kenny’s got much more of a singular obsession of what he was wanting to go after than, say, I do. I don’t have … anything that … is my holy grail out there that I’m trying to get to. Kenny has it and he sells out everything to go get it. He almost wills it into being. One could argue that he did will it into being.
Fox News: The movie also deals with the perception of success.
McConaughey: Well success, what do we call it today? In America we call success fame and money. Really, that’s the measures, you know? For wrong or for right that’s the measures. Kenny’s got a great thing he talks about. Someone says “Oh, it’s about the money” and he says “No, it was never about the money.”... It’s different. The gold is the dream ... He proved people wrong when everyone said “No, you’re the only one and you’re chasing a foolish invisible nightmare. It’s not a dream.” He finds it and creates it and it becomes something. It’s that journey -- that adventure -- the catching of it, the approach, the making… it happen is the goal.