Matthew McConaughey once decided not to read the script and just play the character, it didn’t end well

He learned an important lesson about preparation
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The Independent Culture

Matthew McConaughey and Jeff Bridges sat down for Variety’s Actors on Actors series this week, getting on famously and confessing their surprise that they hadn’t met before.

“I do feel that there is a fraternity with actors, but you, in particular and specifically, I felt like, “I know that guy, I met him,” McConaughey told the Hell or High Water star.

After spending a while showing their mutual appreciation, the pair got to talking about the idea of making acting look easy.

“That effortlessness often takes a lot of effort, you know?” Bridges said, after recounting a trying time on Iron Man when he and Robert Downey Jr. would have to learn their lines at the last minute due to script rewrites.

McConaughey followed up with a doozy of a story from his 1995 film Scorpion Spring.

“I had this idea that I need to go back like I did in my first film, where I just knew my man, and I would show up and just play the circumstances - improvise,” he explained.

“So I said, “I’m not going to read the script. Just tell me the character, tell me the situation, and I’ll show up, and I’ll just react and do what I would do. 

“So I show up on set, we’re about to do the scene, and I said, “You know what? Since I know my man, let me just have a peek at these sides real quick.” I pick it up: four-page monologue … in Spanish.”

“Oh god,” Bridges sympathised.

“And I said, “Can you give me 12 minutes?” For whatever reason I thought that’s enough time to learn four pages of dialogue in Spanish and not piss off the crew,” McConaughey continued.

“It was not enough time to learn it in Spanish. I remember that day going, “Whoa, McConaughey, no — to relax, you don’t not prepare; to relax, you go learn it, so you can get there and throw it away.”

The full interview, in which McConaughey hopefully continues to talk about himself in the third person, airs on PBS SoCal on 3 January.