I heart Matthew McConaughey. Not for his abs and his chest, but for his acting.
In fact I didn’t get the point of him when he was in all those dopey rom coms and had felt sorry for him right at the start when he was posted on the cover of Vanity Fair as the second coming, as it seemed an impossible introduction to live up to.
And after a few years of meh movies it seemed like the inevitable had come to pass and that he was fading away into another sad Hollywood used-to-be as he got too old to pull off the romantic lead.
Then I saw Magic Mike and fell in love with him as an actor.
I absolutely adored that film – for many reasons, many of them unprintable – but it was McConaughey’s clear pleasure at not being the prime beefsteak in that film which was such a joy to watch. He got to play the old guy, the not entirely likeable one and he did it brillllllllliantly.
I deeply lust after Tatum Channing, but it’s McConaughey’s character I quote from that film.
‘That’s what I’m talking about…’ has gone into my lexicon.
So it was thrilling to see him then segue into a run of really interesting roles where he can flex his thespian muscles rather than his biceps. GQ mag has labelled his come back into proper parts the ‘McConissance’. I can’t wait to see Dallas Buyers Club.
And nowI have another reason to love him. There’s a really good profile of him in the colour mag of the London Telegraph. I normally find interviews with actors total snore-a-thons but this one is full of fascinating stuff – and there was one bit in particular which made me drum my feet on the floor with delight.
They were discussing the first part of his career, when he was really only hired as the eye candy. The male va va va voom. Does he have a problem that he wasn’t taken ‘seriously’ as an actor? No, sir.
This is what he said:
“I said, ‘Hey, do my good looks help me along? Absolutely. Does the fact that my body is considered good and we’re gonna have me up there in a shirtless scene help it along? Sure.’ I didn’t ever go, ‘No, no, no.’ I was like, ‘Yeah! I get that. That’s fun. What’s the big deal?'”
Then we get to the bit I really love…
“If you go deep with the romcom you sink the ship. There’s a buoyancy to the frequency of romcoms. To be light [my italics] is critically always looked down upon – it’s willowy, it’s wispy, it’s nothing. You know what? It’s f***ing not easy to do and a lot of people don’t do it well. A lot of the work in those things is to stay buoyant. To say, ‘Hey, get offa my cloud, man! I’m dancing between the raindrops!”
This speaks exactly to how I feel when people tell me that the books write are ‘chick lit’ ‘fluff’, or ‘dressed up Mills and Boon’, all of which has been said to me by total strangers (usually at drinks parties, when they’ve asked me what I do…) .
I try not to let it bother me, but it does. I have no aspirations to write ‘important’, ‘serious’, or ‘literary’ works. I want to entertain, to distract – to make other people feel the way my favourite books make me feel.
So thank you Matthew McConaughey. I’m not writing ‘fluff’, I’m dancing between the raindrops.