Matthew McConaughey is still enjoying his McConaissance, but he hasn't forgotten his roles in romantic comedies, nor is he ashamed of being seen as a guy who for years didn't seem to do much other surf, play the bongos, walk around shirtless, and make bad films with Kate Hudson. "I’ve never had fears that I was stuck in one thing," he tells GQ. "I’m sure we’re going to talk about the years when I was in romantic comedies and I was seen as the guy who was on the beach, running around shirtless. I did that. Damn right that was me. I wasn’t scared like, 'Oh God, I’m going to be stuck here.' But I was like, I understand at some point that that is in italics now. So I said, “You know what? I’m not going to be openly presenting that for a while. I’m going to un-brand.” As for the quality of the films, he is quite candid about how junky they can be. "Those kinds of movies are what they are. They get pooh-poohed by critics. They get pooh-poohed by actors themselves. And in a way I get it, but in other ways it's completely unfair. There's a buoyancy you need to make them work. I believe I gave them buoyancy. And some of the shoots were very difficult, with me trying to fight for the balls on the guy." He talks a lot about rom-com heroes needing integrity, not a trait we associate with those sorts of films. "What's a romantic comedy? Boy meets girl. They get together. Something happens. Girl takes off. Boy chases girl. They get back together. The end. A lot of times the male is somewhat emasculated, meaning he has to crawl back and say, 'I'm nothing without you. If you don't take me back, I'm nothing.' And I was always like, 'What girl wants that guy?' I've got no problem saying, 'I'm sorry. You want to give this another shot?' But I've got to come back with some integrity—even if it's on a moped with a veil on my head. Look, I'm happy if you think I 'cruised through' those. I did my work."
As for the part of his career that "is in italics," McConaughey cheerfully admits he played a part in its creation. "Well, it has two parts. One was the myth that was branded and created. Second, yeah, it’s me. I did Fool’s Gold in Australia, had a summer in Malibu, and made a surfer film—basically, when you edit those all together, it was one continuous ninety-degree day on the beach without a shirt. But also, I worked hard to live in Malibu, California. I’m going to the beach! I’m gonna go surfing! No, I don’t want to wear a shirt. I want to get a tan and feel the sun on my bones." When the actor is not feeling the sun on his bones, he is scribblin in a leather journal that he carries with him always. "A man should always have his diary on him," he says, quoting Oscar Wilde. "That way he's guaranteed to always have something incredible to read."
[Check out the "Most Interesting Finds" on Amazon ]