Matthew McConaughey Defends His Romantic Comedies... and the Washington Football Team

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Jordan Zakarin
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Matthew McConaughey in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Matthew McConaughey, contrary to popular opinion, is alright alright alright with his romantic comedy past. He just didn’t find the roles fulfilling enough in the long run.

In a new interview in GQ, the Oscar-winning actor, whose career renaissance began back in 2011 and is culminating in this fall’s sci-fi epic Interstellar, makes no apology for the work he did in the mid ’00s.

“These things aren’t easy,” he tells the magazine, referring to his string of middling movies like 2006’s Failure to Launch. “What’s hard is to make them look easy. Those kinds of movies are what they are. They get pooh-poohed by critics. They get pooh-poohed by actors themselves. And in a way I get it, but in other ways it’s completely unfair. There’s a buoyancy you need to make them work. I believe I gave them buoyancy.”

McConaughey explains that he bristled at some of the endings to those films, worried that turning his charming leading man into a whiny crybaby with a broken heart was the least attractive thing they could do for the character. ”A lot of times the male is somewhat emasculated, meaning he has to crawl back and say, ‘I’m nothing without you. If you don’t take me back, I’m nothing,’” he says. “And I was always like, ‘What girl wants that guy?’”

Well, when he’s got those abs…

Nonetheless, there were at least five of the derided rom-coms that McConaughey took pride in: Wedding Planner, Failure to Launch, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Fool’s Gold, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

He did acknowledge though that at a certain point, he grew weary of the comedy roles. “Did there come a time when I picked up a script and was like, ‘God, I feel like I could do this [part] tomorrow?’ Yes,’” he said. “That’s when I made a calculation to say, ‘I don’t want to do those right now.’ I thought, ‘I love harder, I cry harder, I laugh harder in my real life than I do in my work. I’ve got things in my life every single day, risks that I’m taking that are scaring me. Why is my work not scaring me?’”

After consulting his wife and accountant, he took a break for two years during which time his first son was born. (McConaughey called him his “secret weapon.”) It wasn’t until he read the script for the 2011 drama Killer Joe that McConaughey felt he was on the right track. And then Steven Soderbergh pitched him the role of sleazy lounge lizard Dallas in Magic Mike. “What I was saying [with that role] was, “In case you didn’t know, I’ve always been in on the joke,” said McConaughey.

Also notable: McConaughey is a diehard fan of the Washington Redskins football team, which has come under fire for a name that many find racist and antiquated (this Daily Show segment explains it excruciatingly well). The actor understands those complaints, sure, but he still likes the controversial name and logo.

“It’s not going to hurt me,” he says, of the prospect of the team changing its name and logo. “It’s just… I love the emblem. I dig it. It gives me a little fire and some oomph. But now that it’s in the court of public opinion, it’s going to change. I wish it wouldn’t, but it will.

Remind yourself of McConaughey’s rom com past with the trailer for Failure to Launch:

The post has been updated with additional information.