This holiday season is shaping-up to be “Alright, Alright, Alright” as Matthew McConaughey, the Oscar-winning star of “Dallas Buyers Club”, has two big movies opening within four days of each other, on December 21 and 25. [In 2011, director Steven Spielberg also released two films, “The Adventures of Tintin” and “War Horse”, on December 21 and 25, respectively.]
First – we’ll hear McConaughey voice the koala bear theater owner Buster Moon in the Universal’s animated “SING”. The musical, from Illumination Entertainment, the makers of “Despicable Me” and “The Secret Life of Pets”, centers on a talking animal singing competition. Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Tori Kelly join McConaughey in the voice cast. A reported 85 songs are featured (though, obviously, not all in their entirety). Reviews from the Toronto Film Festival were strong, with some placing it as a surprise Best Animated Feature contender. However, it will be difficult for McConaughey to top his excellent voice performance as Beetle in this summer’s “Kubo and the Two Strings”. As director Travis Knight told me, McConaughey’s work was impressive, especially when it came to a particular scene:
“For Matthew, because of what the scene was, he was trying to capture a certain, ragged quality to his voice, and it just wasn’t coming out the way he wanted it to. So, we’re just sitting there, and all of a sudden, he just disappears…from the vocal booth. [I said] “What happened? Where’d he go?” And so I got up, and I walk over to the vocal booth, and I look, and he’s on the ground cranking-out an inhuman amount of push-ups. I’ve never seen a human being do that many push-ups. It was very impressive. As soon as he finished, he promptly got up and he delivered the line, and his voice had the exact, ragged quality that we were going for. And it was amazing. He absolutely nailed the performance.”
McConaughey’s live-action role is as Kenny Wells in The Weinstein Co.’s rags to riches Christmas Day release “GOLD”. Wells is a businessman who travels with a friend into the Indonesian jungle looking for treasure – and they hit the jackpot. The film is directed by Stephen Gaghan (who won an Oscar for writing “Traffic”) and co-stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Bruce Greenwood and Stacy Keach. The trailer is interesting, though the story seems a little too basic, likely to be elevated by McConaughey’s performance. But since no one has seen “Gold” yet, it’s still a little early to tell if he’ll be in the running for Best Actor gold again.