From the moment he debuted on the big screen in Richard Linklater’s 1993 slacker comedy “Dazed and Confused,” the Uvalde, Texas, native has embraced his Southern heritage and worked to keep the state’s film business strong.
While lucrative tax incentives have lured production to such neighboring states as Louisiana and Georgia, McConaughey — as well as fellow Texans like Robert Rodriguez and Linklater — continue to push to work within Texas borders.
“The crews are relaxed yet professional,” the actor says of the local production base. “People are still excited and happy to have a film shot in their cities, towns and properties, and we try to be very aware of the footprint we leave. If we leave it like we found it, they’re more happy to have us back.”
From “Dazed and Confused” to 2011’s “Bernie” to the film for which he won this year’s lead actor Oscar, “Dallas Buyers Club,” McConaughey continues to help build Texas’ profile as a production-friendly place.
“I wouldn’t call him the stereotypical proud Texan, but he’s certainly an unembarrassed Texan, and he carries the flag rather well,” says Gary Bond, director of film marketing for the Austin Film Commission. “It helps like crazy, he was living here before he became well-known.”
McConaughey’s influence goes beyond merely lending his name to bolster events. The die-hard Longhorns fan has been known to give impromptu pep talks to the U. of Texas team, as he did in early October.
Tourism also enjoys a boost from McConaughey, Bond says, particularly because of the memorable stoner he played in “Dazed and Confused.”
“I get more questions about that particular film than any other film that’s ever been made in Austin,” Bond says.
And the actor is laser-focused on giving back.
His Just Keep Livin Foundation helps inner-city kids by training them in fitness, wellness and community service in California, Texas, Louisiana and Washington, D.C. An estimated 2,500 participate.
“The Just Keep Livin programs are a true reflection of Matthew and his passion for breaking a sweat, eating right and being grateful,” says Karin Morris, executive director, Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, and vice president of community outreach.
The organization partnered with JKL to implement programs in three inner-city high schools in the Dallas area. “Matthew is not just the founder but the driving force behind the programs. It is (his) spirit and his fire at the core of it all. These kids are not just getting healthier, their lives are transformed.”
WHAT: Matthew McConaughey receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
WHEN: 11:30 a.m. Nov. 17
WHERE: 6931 Hollywood Blvd.