Sure, Matthew McConaughey reportedly put on more than 40 pounds to get into character as Kenny Wells, the somewhat sketchy fellow at the heart of “Gold.” He hit the cheeseburgers, and he hit them hard.
But what really jumps out at you is his hair, a comb-over with that sort of half-halo thing about the back that some men get. It is … not the most flattering look. It is extremely unexpected to see on a movie star.
“I haven’t told anyone else this. I went to the hair lady, said, ‘It’s this guy’s hair,’ and handed her a picture of Dana Holgorsen,” McConaughey said, laughing uproariously.
Holgorsen, for those not versed in the ins and outs of college football, is the current head coach at West Virginia. He did time in various offensive coordinator gigs at Oklahoma State, Houston and Texas Tech.
But Austin spirit animal Matthew McConaughey mingled at an invite-only cocktail party at the Highball on Thursday before introducing his new film “Gold,” his inspired-by-true-events film about a 1980s precious metals prospector named Kenny Wells who, with a geologist partner, heads to Indonesia to make his proverbial fortune.
Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League introduced McConaughey by big-upping not “Dazed and Confused,” the traditional starting place for talking about McConaughey, but by discussing his “intense screen presence” in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation” (except for the robotic leg; nobody liked that leg).
McConaughey introduced “Gold,” a project he had been developing for five or six years before getting director Stephen Gaghan to sign on, by telling a great story about his dad. When McConaughey was 17 years old, he and his dad went out to get “stocking stuffers” for the holiday season.
He and his dad head off to a parking lot, at which McConaughey Senior introduced his son to a man named Chicago John, who had a variety of items in the back of a van (“microwaves, hair dryers”). McConaughey said his father purchased an item from this gentleman. McConaughey couldn’t see what it was, but it was the sort of thing for which one peels off stacks of bills and one wraps in a bunch of paper towels.
“I don’t know if I’ve got a ferret or what,” McConaughey said. He and Matthew get back in their car, the item stuffed in the glove box. Said McConaughey Senior to son: “See if it’s still in there.”
McConaughey unwraps it. It’s a watch. “‘That’s a $22,000 titanium Rolex I just bought for $3,000,’ Dad said.
“Now, that watch was probably not worth $500,” McConaughey said, “but my dad loved a shady deal,” the sort that captures the spirit of Kenny Wells, whom McConaughey said is his favorite character he has ever played.
The extremely enjoyable “Gold” opens Jan. 27. Look for a review of the movie before that date.