Matthew McConaughey has been named GQ‘s Leading Man of The Year which he deserves because after years of shitting out romantic comedies, he reinvented his career and was a goddamn revelation in Magic Mike. It’s a role on par with Val Kilmer in Tombstone, and if you’re too dude-bro to watch a movie about male strippers, then you’re depriving yourself of all the wondrous gifts this world has to offer (unless you clicked on these Nina Agdal pics). Also, according to his GQ profile, he’s apparently Batman. Why don’t you want to watch Batman act?
“So there I was in this little village on the Niger River.” Matthew McConaughey is talking about a trip he took a few years ago, one of the walkabouts he is fond of going on whenever the Hollywood air gets too rarefied. “Word had gotten out that there was a strong white man, a boxer. So I’m lying there outside, stretchin’, when I hear these young male voices, and it sounded like they were talking shit,” he says. He asked his guide to translate: “They saying they are champion of the village wrestlers, and they want to wrestle Strong White Man,” he says, transitioning into a sort of Tarzan accent. “And all of a sudden, the volume of the crowd comes up, like, two decibels. And I look up, and there’s a huge guy wearing, like, a burlap sack. He looks at me, and he points to his chest.” McConaughey points to his famous pecs, peeking out of his white V-neck like a pair of toasted dinner rolls. “Then he points at me. Then he points over there to a sandpit.” McConaughey points at the window of his Airstream trailer, which is parked at Sony studios. “And my heart is going babababababababa. But my brain is going, ‘You have to, dude.’ So I go and get in the sandpit. I’m barefoot, no shirt; he’s barefoot, no shirt. I don’t know the rules, but I am about to find out.”
As for whether or not he won, that wasn’t the point of the experience because Matthew McConaughey is a philosopher, if not the greatest hip hop artist of our generation:
As he finishes telling it, McConaughey is crouched in a wrestling stance, breathing heavily. “I’m just breathing, covered in sweat, blood running down my chin, things coming out of my beard. The crowd is going crazy.” He asked a bystander: “Did I win?”
McConaughey lowers his voice back into his Tarzan accent. “It is not about whether you win or lose,” he says. “It is whether you accept the challenge.”
McConaughey pauses to let the power of the words resonate. He is an avid collector of bits of wisdom like this. “I got 821 of them,” he says, nodding toward a slim laptop containing “aphorisms, bumper stickers, truths, and rhymes,” many of which he has come up with himself. Lately he has been writing bits of rap songs. Rollin’ through yellow lights on my skateboard, he speak-sings. Kiss the fire and walk away whistlin’.
Did I mention Matthew McConaughey is oddly fixated on traffic lights? Matthew McConaughey is oddly fixated on traffic lights.
On the door, someone has welded McConaughey’s best-known aphorism, “Just keep livin’.” The line belongs to Wooderson, the long-graduated Lothario he played in 1993′s Dazed and Confused, and it’s become a motto for McConaughey, inspiring the names of both his foundation (J.K. Livin) and his clothing line (JKL), whose tagline is yet another McConaugheyism: “Find your frequency.”
“That’s a goooood one,” he drawls. “You get that, don’t you? We all have a frequency, where things are clicking.” He closes his eyes, snapping his fingers like a Beat poet. “I can adapt better. I’m catching more green lights. You know what I mean?”
“It’s like, say you’re on a skateboard,” he explains while slowly playing the congas. “And you gotta get to the beach by 5:30 because that’s when the good waves are, but then you hit a red light and it’s like the eye of Satan looking down on you saying, ‘McConaughey, I’m going to stop you. I’m going to stop you with everything in my power.’ But then you look right back at that light and you know what happens? It turns green. That’s me, all day, every day, man. Sometimes I just sit in the middle of intersections altering rush hour traffic so people can see you don’t have to let those lights tell you what to do. You don’t have to let them do anything. And people die because I don’t know anything about traffic patterns, but we all come back, you dig? We all come back.”