shadows features The tanned and the beautiful
Meeting Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson
B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
fool's gold OK, so Fool's Gold isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. But then, they did tell us that right there in the title. This is a film about stupid people doing stupid things, and not really learning much along the way beyond the demands of an action-adventure romantic-comedy.

Director-cowriter Andy Tennant, the man behind Ever After and Hitch, is a big guy who looks uncomfortable in the tiny armchair, but has an obvious camaraderie with his cast members. Kate Hudson is lanky and gorgeous in jeans and super-high heels, while Matthew McConaughey is a bit wary and mysterious, dressed all in black except for a burgundy scarf and a deep tan that's visible from head to mid-chest, thanks to an unbuttoned shirt. Intriguingly, they're both about the same height. Kate has her mother's lively, room-lightening laugh (and her mother's habit of using it a lot), while Matthew looks like a boy who's been caught doing something naughty.

They're both wry and funny, and surprisingly thoughtful even as they answer the most ridiculous questions from the assembled press. And we start with why Matthew would want to make a movie in which he's such an idiot.

"I'm the screw-up who gets his butt whooped a lot and then gets the girl," he says. "It was fun."

"He's definitely the 'fool' in the story," adds Andy. "But he was also incredibly dedicated to the role. He's the kind of everyman we wanted you to worry about, so we hit him a lot. That's part of his charm."

As a genre, rom-coms seem to be overly repetitive, but they're also consistently popular. "They're a staple of American cinema," says Andy. "They're about people, and I like that. This particular one is about marriage - they want to kill each other, and then in the final moments they get to a point where they have to decide what's really important. And if you can say something like that and make people laugh, that's great!"

Speaking of wanting to kill each other, there have been rumours that McConaughey and Hudson don't always get along on set with each other, and yet this is their second film together.

"Kate can be a pain in the ass from time to time," Matthew says, with only a slight twinkle in his eye. "No, that's true. Over six months working together, anything can happen, and then we kiss and make up. Actually we're pains in each others' asses, which is why we work together so well. As Kate said, we love each other, but we don't always like each other."

"I said that about the movie!" she interjects, as they launch into a discussion of everything that annoys them about each other. For Kate, it's the strange noises he continually makes on set. For Matthew, it's the fact that she's always 10 minutes late to the set. But as they talk, Matthew puts his hand affectionately on Kate's knee, and she puts a hand on top of it - they stay like this for most of the rest of the interview.

Matthew sums it up: "We're good friends."

"Yes, and all that means," Kate replies. "I mean, we're all crazy in Hollywood and somewhat dysfunctional. We wouldn't do what we do otherwise. But really, it's all about the experience. People project fame on you, and all the glamour that comes with it, but when you're making a movie, you're just there working, having a great time. My favourite image from this film is a picture I have of Ray (Winstone) picking me up like he's going to throw me off into the water. And I'm laughing so hard! He's just a very fun and original man."

She spent most of the film in swimwear, while Matthew was almost always shirtless, or more. Is that better than having a designer wardrobe?

"It drives me crazy that in most films they put me in a pencil skirt or tight jeans so I can hardly move," Kate says. "I prefer scenes where you wake up and just hang out in sweats. And this was even better. I hardly had any hair or makeup - I'd show up and the hairdresser would just look at me and say, "No, you're good to go." And the costumes were easy. Actually, it took Matthew longer to get ready, because of all the airbrushing of the abs."

"My body in this film is all CGI," Matthew deadpans.

"I'm not saying anything," Andy says sheepishly.

"No, it was me. I took longer," Kate finally confesses. "But it wasn't the makeup, it's the conversations in the makeup trailer."

Of course, make-up isnŐt much good when you're under water.

"Acting underwater is all about air supply," Kate says. "I had to get comfortable with it, but once I did, I felt I could do something besides worrying about the air."

"The only thing the camera can see is your eyes through the mask," Matthew adds. "So you have to be careful not to send mixed messages! You also have to choreograph everything thoroughly, because once you get down there you might not get another chance to do it again."

"The diving added to the camaraderie on the set," Kate continues. "It was something we all had to do together - to trust each other. We were in Port Douglas (on the northeast coast of Australia), far from our homes learning how to dive. 'That's a really big fish! It looks hungry!'"

From here the conversation turns to babies, as Kate has a 4-year-old son, while Matthew's girlfriend is pregnant with his first child. They talk about how being a parent changes your priorities, and also about the details of changing nappies.

"Balancing work and home lives is difficult," Kate says. "I maintain priorities to decide where I'm working and when. It's never easy - I love my job. But I grew up with a busy mother and never felt there was a moment when she wasn't there, and my Pa too. I've definitely learned a lot from them."

"The best education I've had in my life has been to travel," Matthew adds. "And I get to do that with this job, so my kids will fill up their passport as soon as possible. They'll travel to every film set with me."

"And Andy's family is amazing," Kate interjects. "He's got a whole baseball team, and they travel the world all the time, meeting up everywhere. It's great."

"I guess, if my children inherit anything from me, it would be loyalty," Matthew says. "I'm a loyal guy. One thing we knew growing up was that Mom and Dad loved us even when we were getting our butts whooped. And we learned to respect our elders too. And to never sat the words C-A-N-T or H-A-T-E."



at the london premier
fool's gold
in fool's gold
19.April.79, Los Angeles

Fool's Gold (2008)
You, Me and Dupree (2006)
The Skeleton Key (2005)
Raising Helen (2004)
Le Divorce (2003)
Alex & Emma (2003)
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
The Four Feathers (2002)
Dr T and the Women (2000)
Almost Famous (2000)
About Adam (2000)
200 Cigarettes (1999)

4.Nov.69, Uvalde, Texas

Fool's Gold (2008)
We Are Marshall (2006)
Failure to Launch (2006)
Two for the Money (2005)
Sahara (2005)
Tiptoes (2003)
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
Reign of Fire (2002)
Frailty (2001)
Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (2001)
The Wedding Planner (2001)
U-571 (2000)
Edtv (1999)
Amistad (1997)
Contact (1997)
A Time to Kill (1996)
Lone Star (1996)
The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1994)
Dazed and Confused (1993)

1955, Chicago

as a director...
Fool's Gold (2008)
Hitch (2005)
Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
Anna and the King (1999)
Ever After (1998)
Fools Rush In (1997)
It Takes Two (1995)

shadows on the wall

© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall