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Matthew Mcconaughey’s ‘The Beach Bum’ Was Inspired by Two Jimmy Buffett Songs

Director Harmony Korine may have been wastin’ away again in Margaritaville when he came up with the idea for “The Beach Bum.”

According to Jimmy Buffett, his songs “Margaritaville” and “A Pirate Looks at Forty” inspired the stoner comedy, and his friendship with Korine landed him a role in the film.

“He was telling me about the whole thing and that it was based on some songs I had written,” Buffett told Variety at the film’s premiere at the ArcLight Hollywood on Thursday. “It was a bigger part than I really thought I was capable of doing. He said, ‘If I ever get it done, would you consider being in it?’ and I said, ‘Sure I will.’ I was already on board, and when he told me who was coming on board, it just made the whole ride even more fun.”

The Gulf and Western artist also explained how he and Snoop Dogg wrote “Moonfog,” the movie’s theme song.

“We were just jamming around on the boat a little bit and Harmony liked it so much he came to us and said, ‘Would you finish the song?’ And then it turned out being the theme song to the movie,” he said.

Korine’s first feature since his drug-fueled crime drama “Spring Breakers” in 2013, “The Beach Bum” returns to Florida and brings all the stylishness and hedonism for which the director is now known. Matthew McConaughey plays the lead, Moondog, a carefree, stoner poet in search of the muse for his next work of art. In addition to Snoop Dogg, who portrays Moondog’s friend Rie (short for Lingerie), stars Zac Efron, Isla Fisher, Stefania LaVie Owen, Joshua Ritter, Alan Frankel, and Jahkata Lloyd also attended the premiere.

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A weed-loving bongo player, Moondog evokes some of McConaughey’s own life, like his 1999 arrest for playing the same instrument while nude, and his stoner character David Wooderson from “Dazed and Confused.”

“I look at it like those 1980s equalizers. I’m raising and lowering different levels of myself,” he said. “I’m turning off a lot of my own consciousness for Moondog, I’m turning off a lot of my own sense of responsibility. I’m turning up some absolute blissful moments where I’ve got not a care in the world. I’m turning up the times in my own life where I’m not having any crisis because I’m not giving crisis any credit. That’s Moondog.”

Korine also cast real-life Floridians for the movie, including people who had never acted before, according to casting director LaShawnna Stanley.

“I hit the streets, so I got people out of trailer parks, reggae fests — real people. [Korine] wants people who when you look at them, they tell a story. It draws you into the whole world,” she said. “The movie is total Florida. Total beach bums, rastas hanging in bars, multicultural people. It’s a big cesspool of Miami. It’s not the glorified Miami you normally see, it’s the grungy parts that nobody gets to see.”

Like “Spring Breakers,” “The Beach Bum” features plenty of drinking, smoking, and partying, and cast members said at Thursday’s screening and the SXSW premiere that the on-set atmosphere reflected the tone of the film.

“I really loved the dance parties and dancing in between scenes. It was just like vacation mode,” LaVie Owen told Variety. “It rippled through the set, which was so fun. You can imagine if you’ve seen the film, that set was next level.”

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