After years of fun (often shirtless) both on and off screen, Matthew McConaughey is getting back to drama. Deferring his comedy run, with roles in Fool’s Gold, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Tropic Thunder, the 41-year-old is suiting up for courtroom drama in the legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer, opposite Ryan Phillippe and Marisa Tomei.
The role is sort of a homecoming for McConaughey, whose turn as an idealistic young lawyer in 1996’s A Time to Kill marked his big-screen breakthrough. He plays Mick Haller, a defense attorney, who operates out of his Lincoln Town Car.
“It’s not really a conscious decision. I’m just naturally turned on by this kind of story and character now,” he says. He mostly serves street-level criminals, until he’s hired to defend a rich playboy accused of domestic violence. “It was exactly what I was looking for,” he says. After logging his share of romcoms, McConaughey also counts The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Failure to Launch, as he understands the “buoyancy” they require. But the actor welcomes the depth and intensity that dramas allow him.
“You can hit as hard as you want. You can love as hard as you want. You can be in as much pain and hurt as much as it really hurts,” he says. Though the star says he would do romcoms again, for now, there’s more on-screen drama for him with movies like Killer Joe, Bernie and home production The Grackle.