Two Matthews keep score in their inspiring roles
By Donna Freydkin, USA TODAY
NEW YORK — One Matthew plays a castaway on the small screen in Lost. The other frequently casts his shirt away in his daily life. And this winter, Matthews Fox, 40, and McConaughey, 37, join forces to rebuild a college football team after the players die in a freak plane crash in the inspirational true story We Are Marshall, opening Friday. Over margaritas at ESPN Zone in Times Square with USA TODAY, the actors discussed winning, losing and why they loved playing their game.
Q: What kind of coach would you make in real life?
Fox: This is the first time I’ve approached football from that perspective, and boy, I had a good time. I think I’d enjoy it an awful lot. I’d be good at it. I’ve played under enough coaches in my life, and I can understand what kind of mentor you can be in that position. It’s not just about winning or losing or the competition or cooperating as a team. Those are the first kernels of understanding of what team sports are all about. The way you use that stuff in your life are the lessons as a coach you have the opportunity to highlight. My father was very much that way with me with sports.
McConaughey: I don’t understand some of the things that happen today, where they have kids play where there’s no win or loss. I disagree with that. Failure is sometimes more important in life than victory.
Fox: My daughter was playing soccer this year, and they actually don’t keep score at the age of 9. Who came up with that age? When are you supposed to learn? I was very competitive when I played. As a father, I would much rather have a child that I could sit down at the dinner table with after watching them play and feel that my son or daughter had given 110% every single minute.
McConaughey: Life ain’t fair! Life ain’t easy, and it’s not supposed to be.
Q: What did you learn from coaching all those kids in the movie?
McConaughey: I learned a lot about how my dad was raising me via portraying Jack Lengyel. Being with kids, college students — some of the kids not with the amount of ability you’d hope they have. You can’t treat everyone the same. You can treat them all fair. Things like that.
Q: Did you like being a fiery redhead in the movie?
Fox: The actual Red (Dawson) definitely has that fiery element to him. I think the world of him and respect him. We feel really good about how on-point we stayed with the story.
Q: Matthew (McConaughey), you’re People’s former Sexiest Man Alive, and Matthew (Fox), you’re one of its sexiest men. So, how sexy did you feel in the plaid and polyester ensembles you wore in the film?
McConaughey: Go back on that “former” now! Come on now, man. If it’s Sexiest Man Alive, then I’m still sitting here with a heartbeat. It’s not something you lose.
Fox: He’s alive! As long as he’s alive, he’s the sexiest.
McConaughey: Part of the great thing about acting is that it’s time travel. You go with the gear.
Fox: How many times have you really seen the ’70s really given their due? We make fun of it now.
McConaughey: I keep (the knee socks) pulled up. I’m fast in those socks, too.
Q: Matthew, I hear that the margarita is your personal concoction. What’s the secret?
McConaughey: This particular margarita? Two full limes, squeezed on the bottom first. Tablespoon of sugar. Then tequila, splash of Cointreau, and you top off with tonic so you can have a little carbonation.