Matthew “the-handosme” McConaughey has it all going for him this year. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club, in which he is also the frontrunner after winning the same prize at the Golden Globe Awards and Screen Actors Guild, he’s also wowing on the small screen every Sunday night on HBO’s True Detective, for which he may get some Emmy love later this year. Even greater, he was picked by Christopher Nolan to star in his upcoming blockbuster, the science fiction Interstellar, which is easily the year’s most anticipated movie. And now, the Texan actor is joining forces with the king of the “alternative mainstream”, so to speak: Gus Van Sant. It has been recently announced that Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe have signed up for Sea of Trees, a drama that seems to perfectly belong to old good Gus Van Sant and his Death Trilogy (Gerry (2002) – Elephant (2003) – Last Days (2005)).
The plot of the movie really has great potential. It’s the story of an American man and his journey into the Suicide Forest at the foothills of Mount Fuji. He is intentioned to take his own life, but the meeting of a Japanese man (Ken Watanabe) who is having second thoughts about his suicide will lead him to reconsider his decision. Together they start looking for a way out of the forest, transforming their journey into a contemplative trip for survival. If you have ever seen a Gus Van Sant movie, you know already that this plot is a wonderful premise. He has always been focused on telling stories of characters that are emotionally damaged and on their way to redemption. Let’s just think about his masterpiece Good Will Hunting, starring the young and brilliant Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, or My Own Private Idaho, with River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves. Looking at the names of the actors that Van Sant had the opportunity to work with can also reassure us that his pairing up with Matthew McConaughey will be a success. Gus Van Sant is a director who isn’t afraid of casting people with great personalities, actors who will be able to add personal value to the picture.
I was personally surprised to see Matthew McConaughey’s name and not Joaquin Phoenix’s, who had previously shown an interest in the movie. He would’ve been perfect for such a role, so why McConaughey in the end? Well, after last year’s hat trick of Mud, Dallas Buyers Club, and The Wolf Of Wall Street, the time is now to start taking him seriously as an actor. The McConaissance is upon us people. Being taken under the guidance of a great auteur will only help him grow further. Gus Van Sant has often made original choices in terms of casting, challenging the public’s idea of certain actors and hiring young talents in important roles.
I cannot wait to see Matthew McConaughey embarking on a Haruki-Murakami-like adventure, especially under the protective wing of my favorite filmmaker.
What are your expectations for this movie?
Article by Giulia Rho