Juan Figueroa, Daily Texan Staff

Guess Who’s Back? A Conversation with Matthew McConaughey

By Jordan Auzenne

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When the name “McConaughey” is uttered, UT students of all degrees go into a frenzy, ecstatic to learn that the beloved alumnus is back. However, Radio-Television-Film students will be quick to tell you that he never actually left. For the last semester, Matthew McConaughey has been playing professor, pioneer of “Advanced Producing: Script to Screen” along with Hunger Games director Gary Ross and Prof. Scott Rice. He explained it’s “a class that puts a little science behind the magic,” analyzing the many versions of the script. It explores “the journey from the first word written to the final product.” Alongside the director of his upcoming docudrama, White Boy Rick, Matt (can we call him Matt?) came back to share industry secrets with RTF students.


McConaughey’s big break happened while he was skipping RTF 317 to film Dazed and Confused, so he was lucky to avoid that awkward post-grad-but-still-not-an-actual-adult phase that most students dread. Still, his advice to RTF students was simple: “Shoot. Start shooting. There are a million stories in this room right now”. Director Demange reaffirmed this, explaining the difficult process of getting your name out there, and how the earlier students start making mistakes, the better. As McConaughey warned, Hollywood is less forgiving than it was when he got his start. “The guards at the gates of Hollywood are not there to keep you in. They’re there to keep you out,” he said.


In addition, RTF senior Mitch Chaiet asked what the actor thought our generation of “tech heads” are going to do to Hollywood. After a laugh, McConaughey explained “the lost generation, 13-20 year olds don’t go to the movies anymore. They do not like going to the cinema and being told they can’t look at their phones for two hours.” However, he doesn’t necessarily think that means the end of movie-going. “There will be a shift. Kids will be encouraged to tweet during the movie. I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but I’m still going to make films,” he said. Whatever impact millennials have on movies, they’re still going to face the backlash from older filmmakers, staunch in their ways. Still, even McConaughey is in awe of how modern technology continues to change cinematography. He confessed, “If I can go and shoot a short film on a phone in half a day, I’m like ‘bravo.'”


McConaughey (left) and Demange (center) on the set of “White Boy Rick”, in theaters Jan. 2018 (Courtesy: Yann Demange’s Instagram)


Despite his red carpet walks and prestigious awards, it’s refreshing to hear that McConaughey will never take his roots for granted, as Dean Jay Bernhardt of the Moody College of Communication explained that “one of the most accomplished alumni of the RTF program” still insisted that the first people allowed into the conversation be undergrad film majors. As the actor continues to trailblaze through Hollywood, we hope he also remembers to come back and tell us about his adventures.


A full video of the conversation will be available to UT students for educational purposes.