Matthew McConaughey has become as well known for his chiseled, athletic body and rugged good looks as his acting skills. That’s why the photos from his new movie Gold are so shocking.
McConaughey is almost unrecognizable as he dons a fat suit for the role of Kenny Wells in Gold. He also has a huge bald spot in the middle of his head, surprising for an actor who is normally showing off lush wavy locks.
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According to the film’s Wikipedia page, McConaughey’s character is a man who’s down on his luck and teams up with a geologist named Michael Acosta to go search for gold in the Indonesian rainforest. Gold also stars Joshua Harto, Timothy Simons, and Michael Landes.
The film is directed by Stephen Gaghan and is based on a true story.
Mathew McConaughey movies seem to have become avenues for the actor to explore physical transformation. He lost over 30 pounds to play real-life, HIV-positive drug addict Ron Woodroffe in Dallas Buyers Club. In the film, Matthew McConaughey’s character starts a drug ring to give other HIV patients access to drugs he smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico
He discussed the transformation in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.
“It was big transformation… it was a damn spiritual cleanse, man,” McConaughey said. “You’re reminded how of ten you think about the next meal through the day. …You don’t go have meetings at your favorite steak house either — you have ’em right at home with your little meal right in front of you.”
Mathew McConaughey won an Academy Award for Best Actor for the role in 2014.
For the first season of True Detective, audiences also saw McConaughey make a dramatic physical transformation. Again, he trades in showing off his six-pack abs for portraying the type of guy you’d most likely see skulking around a dive-bar at two in the morning. For many of the episodes, his hair is stringy and his eyes have a deranged, almost feral quality. Definitely not the type of guy who would be named “Sexiest Man Alive.”
In True Detective, McConaughey starred opposite Woody Harrelson as Detective Rustin “Rust” Cohle. McConaughey’s performance in the HBO series was widely praised, and True Detective Season 1 did very well in the ratings.
These physical transformations are all part of the new career trajectory the 45-year-old actor has taken over the last couple of years. Mathew McConaughey movies used to be mainly romantic comedies like Failure to Launch, The Wedding Planner, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
Five years ago, very few people would have guessed that McConaughey the hearthrob would be winning an Academy Award for Best Actor.
McConaughey doesn’t seem to have any shame about his rom-com days.
“There’s a buoyancy to the frequency of rom-coms. To be light is critically always looked down upon — it’s willowy, it’s wispy, it’s nothing,”McConaughey told the Daily Telegraph in 2014. “You know what? It’s not easy to do and a lot of people don’t do it well.”
But long time fans of McConaughey will remember his role in the indie cult classic Dazed and Confused, directed by Richard Linklater. That’s where he first uttered what would become his signature phrase, “Alright, Alright, Alright.”
He also did a couple of serious films after that including A Time to Kill, a film adaptation of a John Grisham novel of the same name. That role generated the first Mathew McConaughey Vanity Fair cover in 1996, according to this article in the BBC News.
There’s no scheduled release date for Gold, but it is expected to see Mathew McConaughey in his fat suit on the big screen at some point in 2016.
[Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/Getty Images]