Matthew McConaughey May Take the Lead in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’

In the past few years Matthew McConaughey has proved that pithy romantic comedies are clearly not where his heart lies. With a string of roles in Magic Mike, Killer Joe, The Paperboy, and Jeff Nicholas’ upcoming Mud, the 43-year-old actor has finally come into his own. And his own being these rough and seedy southern men on a fringe of the law. But earlier this year, we had been seeing a more gaunt looking version of the handsome actor as he prepared to play the lead role in Jean-Marc Vallée’s AIDS drama Dallas Buyer’s Club. And now, it seems that he’s been tapped to star in one of the most anticipated movies of the next year, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises follow-up, Interstellar

Deadline reports that although "getting details on a Nolan project is more difficult than getting the line on the Pope selection process," McConaughey has been offered the lead role of Cooper in the film that was originally set in place by Steven Spielberg in 2006. But in January, Nolan signed on to write a script that merged the original idea about the existence of wormholes used for time travel written by his brother Jonah, with his own original idea. Nolan and Emma Thomas producing will be prodicing and, "the ambition is a film that will depict a heroic interstellar voyage to the farthest borders of our scientific understanding."

So although he’s been working in Hollywood for over two decades now, McConaughey’s career has had a rather odd trajectory. With Dazed and Confused and A Time to Kill followed by years of films like Failure to Launch andThe Wedding Planner, it took scaling down into independent cinema for his true talents and desires an actor to be unleashed. So it would be amazing to see this new McConaughey or this true McConaughey star in something as epic as a Christopher Nolan movie about time/space travel. I mean, I would gladly watch McConaughey in anything, so I’m game—how do you feel, MM?

But while we’re here, let’s look back on some choice McConaughey moments.

Diablo Cody Calls Out Some Sexist Bullshit About Her & Channing Tatum’s Sex Work Pasts

Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody calls out sexist bullshit where she sees it, which is precisely why I love her. Chatting with NYmag.com’s Vulture blog about the third annual Athena Film Festival, which showcases the work of women in film. Cody is a co-chair of this year’s Athena festival along with actress Greta Gerwig, filmmaker Mira Nair, and others. But after chatting about the plight of women in mainstream Hollywood film, Cody discussed the topic one always seems to get to in a Diablo Cody interview: stripping.

Specifically, the screenwriter — whose forthcoming film about a conservative in Las Vegas will be called Paradise — addressed the double standard between how she and Channing Tatum have been handled in the press. Diablo Cody first got on a lot of people’s radar in her 2006 memoir, Candy Girl: A Year In The Life Of An Unlikely Stripper. A year later, her film Juno hit the big screen and she won an Academy Award for screenwriting. (Her other films, Jennifer’s Body and Young Adult, were slightly less popular, to put ti mildly.) Throughout her career, people have been all too happy to fixate on Cody’s past employment as a stripper, both positively and negatively. In fact, when I interviewed her years ago for TheFrisky.com about Jennifer’s Body, she said it "sucks" being part of the story more than her film — although we could certainly have a long debate about whether she has pushed some of that narrative herself.

Magic Mike star and beefcake hunk Channing Tatum also worked as a stripper early in his career … yet somehow, he’s seen as more randy and less trashy for doing so.  

The Vulture blogger asked Cody, "What do you make of all the love Channing Tatum’s gotten for turning his stripper past into a film, possibly a franchise?" Her response:

… I find it very interesting that a man can be a stripper, talk about it openly, go on SNL and parody it in several sketches, and nobody accuses him of leveraging his sexuality to get ahead. They applaud it. And he did make a quality film, and it obviously did really well, and it had a certain pedigree — it wasn’t trashy — but I do not think a woman would be treated the same way. I’m living proof of that. A woman’s sexuality is dangerous and threatening and dirty, and for Channing, it’s a charming tool in his arsenal. And I love Magic Mike. I love Channing. This is in no way a diss on him.

Diablo Cody has a point, a strong one. No one has ever told me that Channing Tatum "drives them crazy" or "is so annoying" or "wants attention for being a stripper." And I’ve watched the man give Ellen DeGeneres a lap dance.

I also appreciate Cody clarified she doesn’t mean to diss Tatum or his film. I would love to hear a response from him.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Steven Soderbergh Says Film Criticism is Like Air Guitar and His Liberace Movie is ‘Pretty Gay’

Steven Soderbergh isn’t going anywhere. He may be quitting Hollywood to pursue other artistic ventures but the director who has given us 26 films since his 1989 debut, still has a lot to say for himself. "Just to be clear, I won’t be directing ‘cinema,’ for lack of a better word. But I plan to direct—theater stuff, and I’d do a TV series if something great were to come along," Soderbergh told Mary Kate Schilling in an extensive and thought-provoking interview with the 50-year-old director in conjunction with the release of his second to last film (possibly ever) Side Effects.

The article offers a pretty fascinating look into the mind of someone who has not only made some of the best films of the last few decades but has been able to morph his aesthetic into whatever genre his films play into while always giving us his signature fierce, layered, and thrlling sense of life that continues to intruige audiences. Although I reccommend you read the interview in its entirely, here are some of the highlights.

Soderbergh’s thoughts on film criticism:
It’s what Dave Hickey said: It’s air guitar, ultimately. Was it helpful to read Pauline Kael’s work when I was growing up? Absolutely. For a teenager who was beginning to look at movies as something other than just entertainment, her reviews were really interesting. But at a certain point, it’s not useful anymore. I stopped reading reviews of my own films after Traffic, and I find it hard to read any critics now because they are just so easily fooled. From a directorial standpoint, you can’t throw one by me. I know if you know what you’re doing, and, “Wow, critics”—their reading of filmmaking is very superficial. Look, nothing excites me more than a good film. It makes me want to make something good. But I have certain standards, and I don’t grade on a curve. If you want to be a director, I’m going to treat you like I treat everybody. So it’s frustrating when critics praise things that I feel are not up to snuff.

I think [Kael] reading of that stuff was pretty superficial as well. She had a great gift for setting movies in cultural context, but what set her apart from most critics—and especially a lot of critics today—was that she was at her absolute best when she loved something. And that was exciting to read. Nowadays, I find critics to be very facile when they don’t like a film, but when they do like something they get tongue-tied.

On being a filmmaker:
On the few occasions where I’ve talked to film students, one of the things I stress, in addition to learning your craft, is how you behave as a person. For the most part, our lives are about telling stories. So I ask them, “What are the stories you want people to tell about you?” Because at a certain point, your ability to get a job could turn on the stories people tell about you. The reason [then–Universal Pictures chief] Casey Silver put me up for [1998’s] Out of Sight after I’d had five flops in a row was because he liked me personally. He also knew I was a responsible filmmaker, and if I got that job, the next time he’d see me was when we screened the movie. If I’m an asshole, then I don’t get that job. Character counts. That’s a long way of saying, “If you can be known as someone who can attract talent, that’s a big plus.”

The worst development in filmmaking—particularly in the last five years—is how badly directors are treated. It’s become absolutely horrible the way the people with the money decide they can fart in the kitchen, to put it bluntly. It’s not just studios—it’s anyone who is ­financing a film. I guess I don’t understand the assumption that the director is presumptively wrong about what the audience wants or needs when they are the first audience, in a way. And probably got into making movies ­because of being in that audience. But an alarming thing I learned during Contagion is that the people who pay to make the movies and the audiences who see them are actually very much in sync. I remember during previews how upset the audience was by the Jude Law character. The fact that he created a sort of mixed reaction was viewed as a flaw in the filmmaking. Not, “Oh, that’s interesting, I’m not sure if this guy is an asshole or a hero.” People were really annoyed by that. And I thought, Wow, so ambiguity is not on the table anymore. They were angry.

On transitioning to directing theater:
We’ve talked about what skill set is transferable from one to the other. But whatever I do in the theater, the pieces have to be original pieces. In order for me to take advantage of what I can do, it would be pointless for me to do straight plays or revivals. The projects have to be something that I’ve been involved in creating from scratch, so I can use the sensibility I’ve developed as a filmmaker. I don’t have the background in pure stage craft. 

I just saw this great production at the Irish Rep—“A Celebration of Harold Pinter,” starring Julian Sands.  I like Pinter a lot, maybe because his work reminds me of my own home growing up. There was all this unspoken heaviness going on, but everything happened off camera. We knew my parents weren’t getting along, but they kept it to themselves, which was in fact a very generous thing for them to have done. And good for my career!

On the inspiration for Magic Mike and Matthew McConaughey’s character:
Saturday Night Fever was our model. It’s one of those movies people remember differently than what was actually true. Going back, we were startled by how dark it gets. This girl is being raped in the back seat of the car, and Travolta doesn’t really do anything, he just drives around. He does things that you probably wouldn’t want your protagonist doing today.

Matthew understood the part so well and had such good ideas that I had no desire to box him in. So I just said yes to everything, which turned out to be the right way to go. I think the only note I gave him, when I first pitched him the part on the phone, was that his character believed in UFOs…It wasn’t a way of diminishing the character. It was actually the opposite. My mom was a parapsychologist, so I grew up around that stuff.

On his upcoming HBO film Behind the Candelabra:
It was really fun. The world of it was just bananas. It was great to see Michael [Douglas] and Matt [Damon] jump off the cliff together. Nobody can accuse them of being shy. They just went for it. It’s pretty gay.

On other filmmakers he’s interested in:
Shane Carruth. He did the film Primer, and he’s got a terrific new movie at Sundance. And I’m acting as a presenter on the new Godfrey Reggio film [Visitors], which is exciting. I mean, this is a guy who doesn’t build a film based on other things he’s seen, like I do. It’s his own thing.

Everyone works in their own way. And as is often the case with people who are unique, the problem isn’t Terrence Malick or Quentin Tarantino, the problem is all the people who came after them and want to be Terrence Malick and Quentin Tarantino. But that’s the way it’s always been.

On his work as a painter:
I go back and forth between portraits and abstracts. I’m not really interested in landscapes or still life. I’m more attracted to faces. In fact, whenever I think of a film I’m about to make, I see a face with a certain expression on it. For my photography, I’ve been studying the work of Duane Michals. He’s famous for these photo ­sequences, which tell stories in a cinematic way. I bought a few of his books, and I’ve begun to think about sequences of my own that suggest a narrative.

I’m always curious to hear how something was made—though I have no interest in why an artist did something, or what his work means. Like with Jackson Pollock: I’m always interested in what kind of paint and canvas he used, I just don’t want to know what he meant. You’re supposed to expand your mind to fit the art, you’re not supposed to chop the art down to fit your mind.

Read the rest here.

Matthew McConaughey Takes Center Stage in Jeff Nichols’s New Trailer for ‘Mud’

It took him almost an entire career of Wedding Planner(s) and Failure(s) to Launch, but Matthew McConaughey has finally found his place in cinema. The recent string of roles he has taken on make us wonder why he didn’t venture down this path in the first place? Perhaps it was an evovling sense of purpose as an actor or something that’s come with age, but in the last year he’s really seemed to hit his stride. With last year’s Killer Joe, The Paperboy, and even Magic Mike, McConaughey has come into his own—his own being a seedy, somewhat disturbed, southern (not so) gentleman on the fringe of the law. And with Jeff Nichols’s Mud, the follow-up to 2011’s paranoia-inducing Take Shelter, it appears McMonaughey is proving again that he’s not someone to take lightly. 

Mud tells the story of a two teenage boys who encounter a mysterious fugitive and form a pat to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trailer and to reunite him with his true love. Take Shelter was well-recieved by critics, garnering Nichols the attention he deserved from a film that was neither pure drama nor thriller, but a psychological study of a descent into madness that played on a mix of subtly and sheer power from its leading man, Michael Shannon—who also makes an appearance in Mud. In their Cannes review, The Film Stage claimed that Mud, "imperfect as it may be…marks a step forward for Nichols as a filmmaker capable of making big entertainment that retains some intelligence and a palpable message as well.” And if you aren’t sold already, Sam Shepard is also in the film and, let’s face it, that’s reason enough.

Check out the trailer below:

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Matthew McConaughey Really Wants An Oscar For ‘The Dallas Buyer’s Club’

Celebrities! They’re just like us! Sometimes they are spotted at the airport looking emaciated and with terrible haircuts and mustaches! Yes, that’s Matthew McConaughey right there, who is looking gaunt and sickly for his role in the upcoming The Dallas Buyer’s Club, in which he’ll be playing an AIDS patient. Ladies and gentlemen, get your 2014 Oscar ballots ready because McConaughey is gunning for a trophy!

McConaughey was spotted last week at LAX while taking a break from filming the movie, which also stars Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto, who, according to E!, will be "playing a cross-dresser with AIDS." This sounds like a fun little flick, huh? How will this fare against Ryan Murphy’s big-screen adaptation of Larry Kramer’s masterpiece The Normal Heart? Well, Jennifer Garner is certainly a poor man’s Julia Roberts, who will be starring in The Normal Heart as a wheelchair-bound doctor (Ellen Barkin won a Tony for the role in the play’s Broadway production last year). The Dallas Buyer’s Club definitely lacks the star power of Kramer’s AIDS epic (Alec Baldwin, Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons, and McConaughey’s Magic Mike co-star Matt Bomer have all joined the cast of The Normal Heart). 

This match-up is really the Armageddon / Deep Impact of 2013 AIDS movies, huh?

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ‘Magic Mike’ Skit Confirms Decent Body

It’s my 16th post of the weekend! Which means my brain is mush! So let’s all watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s opening monologue from Saturday Night Live last night! He took his shirt off!

This is not the most sophisticated recording (get on that, Hulu) but nevertheless confirms that JGL is hiding a better body underneath those button-down shirts than you’d expect from that wiry little hipster.

Also, Jay Pharoah? Unexpectedly hot. 

‘Magic Mike’-Themed Bar is a Go-Go

Now I can finally properly justify all the time spent perfecting my pitcher’s arm in the junior softball league: a Magic Mike-themed bar will be opening in New Orleans, opened by none other than that luscious piece of man-meat, Channing Tatum.

According to InStyle, the 32-year-old strip-star bought brothel-style pub Saints and Sinners (fitting, no?) along with best friend Keith Kurtz, with plans to renovate it in time for a blowout party in November.

Ladies, get your Benjamins ready, because it’s about to go down-down-down in the Big Easy! This means I’m that much closer to crossing “me as the meat in a Manganiello—McConaughey sandwich” off my bucket list.

There’s Going to Be a ‘Magic Mike’ Sequel

Magic Mike! Ladies love it! Gay guys love it! James Franco loves it! Everybody loves Magic Mike! (I still have not seen it! Whoops!) If that’s not enough exclamation points for you, here are a couple more: There will be a Magic Mike sequel!!!!! More abs! More jock straps! More butts! More of Channing Tatum’s thick neck! It looks like Hollywood is finally doing something right, everyone! 

In a Twitter interview with Glamour U.K., which is apparently a thing (the Twitter interview, not the British Glamour), the movie’s leading meathead confirmed, sort of, that a second stripper film is in the works. "Yes, yes and yes! We’re working on the concept now. We want to flip the script and make it bigger." I can only assume he’s talking about dicks. 

Could a Magic Mike franchise be director Steven Soderbergh’s new Ocean’s Eleven series? With other Soderbergh mainstays Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Matt Damon hop on stage as aging male strippers eager to get back in the game? Will there be a montage in which Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum teach Don Cheadle some hip-hop moves? Oh, please let this happen. 

James Franco Has Deep Thoughts On ‘Magic Mike’

I hate it when James Franco has a point, don’t you? It detracts from how his everywhere-at-once performance art, fiction writing, octuple Masters degrees, and, you know, acting, are a bit annoying. But in a new blog post on the Huffington Post, Franco gets thinkpiece-y about Magic Mike and actually makes a lot of sense.

Firstly, its not lost on the attractive male blogger how Magic Mike has captured a zeitgeisty moment in our culture in which women are increasingly voracious for, even exploitative of, male sexuality in a way men have been about us for so long. Whether its the raunchy popularity of comedians like Chelsea Handler and Whitney Cummings, the 16-million-and-counting sales of BDSM erotica novel 50 Shades Of Grey, or something else entirely, lustful ladies are having a moment. With that moment, there is a flip in the role of who is being objectified. I personally don’t that is an entirely terrible thing and neither does Franco (despite the fact he’s the one in Hollywood who is not getting any younger). The actor writes, "it’s cool that the guys are now on display, in roles that formerly would go to women; the skin that is going to sell the tickets is primarily male skin."

However, the meat of James Franco’s post addresses Channing Tatum’s business savvy. I would have thought that "serious" actors like Franco would write off Tatum as nothing more than a beefcake in romance flicks. But Franco seems to be saying Tatum could be the next Ryan Gosling — who himself starred in a movie based off a schmoopy Nicholas Sparks novel — and the means to that end is trafficking in his sex appeal. Magic Mike is not only a funny and well-done film, but the fact ex-stripper Tatum co-produced it is a sign the flick is a meta-commentary on Tatum’s own ambitions:

It can be read as a veiled representation of his time in Hollywood as a pretty boy leading man searching for artistic validity. If Magic Mike needs to use his body and good looks (stripping) in order to pay for the art he really cares about (furniture design), can’t this be read as Tatum going through the motions of Dear John and The Vow to become a creator of his own destiny as the producer and champion of Magic Mike, a film that capitalizes on his beauty while at the same time frames it as a curse? … The real underdog story is not about a stripper trying to get out of the game; it’s about a talented actor trying to take control of his career. And he’s smart enough to know how to use his strengths in a film of his own creation with enough aplomb to go head to head with the studio fare of the summer.

Clearly "serious" James Franco has respect for Channing Tatum as an actor, producer and creative visionary. I don’t know why that fact surprises me so much. Maybe the continuing appeal of Franco, annoying as he can be, is that he’s full of surprises.