Matthew McConaughey, Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Josh Brolin and Michael B. Jordan cover the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter. It’s another roundtable, in which they share anecdotes about getting started in the business. Here are some highlights from the interview, and there’s more photo and video below.
Matthew McConaughey turned down $15m to play Magnum PI? Jake Gyllenhaal botched an audition for The Lord Of The Rings? And Jared Leto waxed his legs for Dallas Buyer’s Club? These eye-opening admissions were made during a roundtable interview for The Hollywood Reporter’s The Actors issue. James Brolin, Forest Whitaker and Michael B. Jordan were also part of the relaxed question and answer session for these possible Oscar contenders.
Jake, 32, who’s starring in Prisoners, shared the best story. ’I remember auditioning for The Lord of the Rings [the role of Frodo] and going in and not being told that I needed a British accent,’ he starts. ’I really do remember Peter Jackson saying to me, “You know that you have to do this in a British accent?” We heard back it was literally one of the worst auditions.’
But it was Dallas Buyer’s Club star Matthew’s kick-back tone that dominated the interview. The star, 43, was most candid when discussing married life. ’My wife and I made a deal, and it scared me more than it scared her in the beginning,’ he said. ’She was like, “OK, here’s the deal: When Papa goes to work, the McConaugheys come with him.” I was used to my Airstream trailer, solo, staying by myself, and I went, “Are you kidding me?” [But that is] a huge privilege.’
Matthew — who hints he was offered $15m to star in a film version of TV’s Magnum PI — explains why he turned down the role played on TV by Tom Selleck. ’I looked around and said: “I’m paying rent; the kids are good. We got a son coming into the world. [Being a father is] a great job. Let me sit in the shadows for a while on my career side,”‘ he starts. ’And then, as the world works, some things started attracting me. I guess I became a good idea to some people. And I got a call from [Steven] Soderbergh [for Magic Mike]. Richard Linklater and I were another story: We were hitting baseballs in Texas, and he goes, “Hey, I got this script, Bernie.” Things kind of boomeranged and came back to me. I got selfish, I guess, for myself, my own life.’ When Labor Day star Josh asks, ‘Did having kids have anything to do with it?’ the Sahara star responded, ‘Sure. It’s a natural law. That sort of frees up a whole lot of other things. I’m sure they’ve helped lower my handicap as an actor.’
Matthew also admits he messed up by not preparing for a role. ’I didn’t study acting before I got [my] first job. And I thought: “Hey, maybe you’re not the kind of actor that needs to study lines. Maybe — [laughter] — you just know your man, and you show up and you just do it.” ’I go do this film, Scorpion Spring, and I got this idea: “I’m not gonna look at anything. I know what I am: the drug lord on the Mexican border in Texas. I’ll just show up on the set, stay fresh and loose.” Well, I get down there, OK, and I pick up this scene, and it’s a page-and-a-half monologue in Spanish.’ When Jared interrupts with a ‘seriously?’ the Texan continues, ‘I felt this trickle of sweat. “Um, can you give me 12 minutes?” I haven’t watched it yet, but, “Porque the yellow …” This is bad. And I said, “Never again, man.”‘
Jared, 41 — who says he took a six year break from acting to pursue other interest (he also is in the band 30 Second To Mars) — makes some big admissions, like he auditioned for Robert De Niro seven times ‘years and years ago,’ and that he waxed his legs to co-star with Matthew in Dallas Buyer’s Club. He also divulges, ‘I don’t watch [my] performances. I’ve seen a couple of my films only. When I make music videos, I’m watching all the time, but there’s something that stops me from watching the films.’ When Matthew asks if he’s sure, Jared allow, ‘I’ve seen a couple. I saw Requiem for a Dream – Darren [Aronofsky] dragged me into [that]. I never wanted to see a film that I was in.’
Josh, 45, admitted when director Oliver Stone approached him to play George W. Bush, he said, ‘Why the f— would I want to do that?’ But the famed movie maker wouldn’t let up. ‘He kept following me, and he’d show up at a dinner, or I’d see him at the next table at a restaurant, and he was literally stalking me at some point. But I’m so happy that I did that movie.’
Forest, 52 — who was in the hit The Butler — confessed he had psychological issues when playing a schizophrenic in The Last King of Scotland. ’Every night I kept working really hard, pushing my head to the point where I started to see the things that I was imagining,’ he reveals. ’I realized there is a way to screw with your brain. It took me a really long time to get myself back to thinking the way I wanted to – it almost took a year.’
Michael, 26 – who won raves for Fruitvale Station – copes to lying to get a part. ‘They were getting ready to cast Tupac [for a planned biopic], and when I was auditioning, they were like, “Can you rap?” And I was just like, “Sure!”‘
Josh ended the session on a laugh when he said, ‘[Then-president of production] Meryl Poster at Miramax 10 years ago said, “You and Benicio Del Toro were notoriously the worst auditioners we’ve ever seen.”‘ - via The Daily Mail.