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Here Are Five Things You Might Not Know About Award-Winning Actor Matthew McConaughey

Friday, September 22, 2023

The Hollywood star talks all things writing, family, and the importance of choice

By Katie Song

Alright alright alright. Zibby recently sat down with Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey on Moms Don’t Have Time To Read Books to talk about his debut picture book Just Because.

Filled with McConaughey’s trademark humor and wisdom, Just Because offers a collection of life lessons that empower readers of all ages to see the potential within themselves. “Just because I’m in the race, doesn’t mean I’m fully ready,” McConaughey writes. “Just because I’m shaking, doesn’t mean that I’m not steady.” The picture book is illustrated by Renée Kurilla, a children’s book artist whose previous works include Orangutanka, Chicks Rule!, and the Ada Lace chapter book series.

Best known for his work in films such as Dallas Buyers Club, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, and Interstellar, McConaughey has been telling stories for 30 years, including the recent publication of his first memoir Greenlights, a #1 New York Times bestseller. McConaughey met with Zibby to talk about his writing process, official job title, and how he has found success and contentment throughout his illustrious career.

  1. McConaughey lets his kids “take the lead” on Saturdays.

“There’s certain Saturdays where I’ll go, ‘No plan, Matthew. Forget logic. Let’s just go do what want to do.’ Let them lead without going, ‘Hey, we only have until so o’clock.’ Sometimes, those days––they’re fancy. It’s filled with whatever is in their eye line.

Sometimes, it’s a project that we actually build. At the end of the day, we’ve built something that wasn’t there in the . I’m just following on those days. I think that’s me being a better father, which is being a better leader to them.”

2. McConaughey never writes if there’s a time crunch at hand.

“Ideal writing conditions are alone at four to seven in the morning and with nothing planned or no appointments on the backside. Meaning, if I’m going to write today and I have an appointment in three hours, I know in my mind, in three hours, I need to stop…I can have no curfew.

If I can go away for two weeks and know, Man, relax––I don’t care if it’s dark. I don’t care if it’s light. I don’t care if you have a drink. I don’t care if you don’t. I don’t care if you exercise. We’re going to sit right here. That’s when I’m writing.”

3. McConaughey was a hand model before he was a famous actor.

“A lot of times, it’s not what choice you make. It’s just, ‘Make a damn choice, and commit to it.’ It’ll get you in the door of opportunity where maybe you’ll find the thing that is the gold medal you’re going after, and you can chase it. You wouldn’t have seen that opportunity unless you said, ‘Yeah, I’ll quit biting my nails if you tell me you’re going to pay me a little money to be a hand model.’ ”

4. McConaughey was discovered at a bar.

“Did I want to be a professional hand model? Not necessarily, but it’s in that world of ‘something in front of the camera.’ I’ll be around an ad shoot, which is a world I want to be in. Then, I a production assistant job. Then, I in the right bar and met the right guy and got cast in a movie. These things lead to places.

Just go take the opportunity. If it’s not going to discredit you, go against your character, then try it out. Why not? Just because. Try it. Find out. Even when you find out, ‘Nope, that’s not for me,’ that’s knowledge.”

5. McConaughey has three children—ages 10, 13, and 15—who inspired his latest literary venture.

“As a parent, you see having first-time experiences all the time. I see pressures they’re under. I see pressure they put on themselves. I see pressure their peers put on them. I see confusion. I see them battling with their own feelings and trying to feel like they need to be clear about feeling one way about something.

This book is a little bit about tolerating our contradictory thoughts. We can have dueling feelings at the same time. We can feel one way about the same situation today and feel differently about it tomorrow. That’s okay.”

You can listen to the full episode of Moms Don’t Have Time To Read Books here, and you can subscribe to Zibby’s podcast here.