LOS ANGELES—After a three-decade movie career that has taken him from a young heart throb to one of the world’s most respected actors, Matthew McConaughey is increasingly shaping and telling his own story. And he is proving to be a master storyteller of great depth and dimension. In an exclusive interview with AARP The Magazine for the June/July 2021 issue, the 51-year-old Academy Award®–winning actor candidly reflects on the diverse array of characters that he has played, his important role as a father, stepping down from his position as the “King of Rom-Coms” and more. McConaughey also opens up about the challenges of writing his 2020 memoir, “Greenlights,” a New York Times Bestseller.
The following are excerpts from ATM’s June/July 2021 cover story featuring Matthew McConaughey. The issue is available in homes starting in June and online now at www.aarp.org/magazine/.
On stepping down from his position as the “King of Rom-Coms”:
“I went on a sabbatical away from Hollywood. I said no to every rom-com script that came my way. I turned down one for $14.5 million. Word got around Hollywood I’d done that, and they said, “McConaughey’s not bluffing. Quit sending him romantic comedies!””
On how his family raised him:
“Outlaw logic is the individualism of my family’s thinking. Don’t follow the flock with how you’re supposed to think or what you’re supposed to like or what you’re supposed to wear or what game you’re supposed to play or what entertainment you’re supposed to like or how you’re supposed to treat somebody. They’re rule breakers.”
On his love for music and dancing:
“I still love banging on drums, whether they’re congas, djembes or bongos. I’ve got a roomful. I really enjoy music and dancing. I’ve not found any place where a little bit of a jig is the wrong time. You can find a rhythm anywhere, and it’s relaxing. I like breaking a sweat on the dance floor late into the wee hours.”
On what he and his wife Camila do for fun:
“We love to cook. We love a good bottle of wine. We love a good bourbon. Also enjoy thoughts and ideas.”
On his passion for storytelling:
“I just knew I wanted to be part of a story. I learned to find the rhythm of a story and to trust the pauses—to find the music of a good story.”
On the challenges of writing his 2020 memoir:
“How do I show the humanity in my stories through just the written word? I didn’t have the ability to perform it or show you my raised eyebrow or give you pregnant pauses. You couldn’t see my wet eyes when I’m telling you about my mom and dad fighting, to understand I’m not crying because it was a horror story—I’m crying because it was a love story.”
On lessons for his children:
“I want my kids to be conscientious and understand the world we live in and that there are certain expectations, rules and regulations. But hey, be an original thinker, too.”
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.