The director of Matthew McConaughey’s latest film, ‘Mud’, has revealed that he had to play the long game when it came to casting the Texan star.
“I’ve been thinking about this story for over a decade, and it was always Matthew McConaughey. I wrote it in his voice," explains Jeff Nichols to HuffPostUK.
“And then when it came time to cast, and I was pretty vocal about it.”
Matthew McConaughey has won critical plaudits for his title role of Mud
When Nichols was first thinking of McConaughey, the Texan had proved himself in films like 'Lone Star', 'A Time To Kill' and 'Dazed and Confused', before exiling himself to make a mint of money in rom-com land, the likes of 'How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days' and 'Failure to Launch'...
In the last couple of years, his career has enjoyed a renaissance - 'Magic Mike', 'Killer Joe', 'Bernie' all earning him critical plaudits - something that doesn’t surprise Nichols in the least.
“I’d like to take credit for it,” he says, “but Soderbergh beat me to it, just by a few months.
“I think there’s always been an affection for Matthew McConaughey. If William Friedkin ('Killer Joe') and Steven Soderbergh ('Magic Mike'), Lee Daniels ('The Paperboy'), are having these thoughts as well, I’m not alone. We weren’t talking on the phone, these were all separate thoughts.
“Everybody was just waiting for him to do good stuff - it was time.
Jeff Nichols with his leading man who plays Mud - "he has a nobility, but he's also wrong"
“It was interesting because I was on this one trajectory, making these movies trying to get successful enough to where I had enough influence or power to make ‘Mud’ the way I wanted to, and he was over here doing his thing, and it’s just nice our trajectories dovetailed into each other.”
Nichols’ tenacity has paid off, with McConaughey earning rave reviews for his portrayal of a fugitive, tucked away on an island - pining for his lost love Juniper (Reese Witherspoon), and befriended by two boys who want to help him escape. As Nichols explains it...
“He has a belief system borne out of superstition, and who believes in true love. He believes in what he’s doing, which is noble, but what he believes in is wrong.
“I think this of a lot of southern men (Nichols is himself from Arkansas), they can be noble but they can also be wrong. And I like that, it’s complex.”
Mud is in UK cinemas from Friday 10 May. Watch the trailer below...