Matthew McConaughey was originally disgusted by his latest role in ‘Killer Joe’

Matthew McConaughey stars as the title character in "Killer Joe," which is in theaters now.

When Matthew McConaughey first read the script for his latest film, “Killer Joe,” he had a very immediate — and very negative — reaction. “My first read, I was disgusted. I remember throwing it in the trash and going to take a shower and wishing I had a steel brush,” the actor admits. “And then I have some people that I work with whose opinion I really appreciate, and they had read it at the same time and I talked to them that afternoon, and they were in love with it.”

While McConaughey admits he didn’t see what they saw, he was persuaded to give the script — based on a play by Tracy Letts — another shot. “They were laughing at the humor, and I was like I don’t get what’s funny,’” McConaughey remembers. “I gave it two days and let it get out of my system, and I read it again and found myself sort of chuckling, and I had a few laughs, then I started really to see the hilarity in it. And then I met with [director William Friedkin] for an hour. He was so precise about what he wanted to with it, what the tone of it was, that’s when I got in and went to work on it.”

McConaughey stars as the Joe of the title, a cold and calculating Dallas homicide detective who moonlights as a hired killer. The challenge for McConaughey was finding the humanity in such a frosty menace. “There are things I know that I liked about Joe and I worked on. He is about structure, he is about order. If he doesn’t have that, he’s out of whack and he either dismisses himself from the situation or handles in a street justice way,” McConaughey says. “His sense of discipline is, most people would say, a little askew. It’s not exactly an eye for an eye. Joe’s violence comes from [the other characters'] lack of order.”

Without giving too much away, the climax of the film involves a very disturbing use of fried chicken — a scene that’s easily the most talked-about among audiences after a screening, with many worried they’ve lost their appetite for the food altogether. So has taking part in the pivotal scene changed McConaughey’s appetite? “I’m more of a fan now,” he says with a glint in his eye. “There’s an angle, and I haven’t quite figured it out yet. Why didn’t Kentucky Fried Chicken come to us and say, ‘Let’s piggyback on this whole promotional tour?’ Would that be bad for business?”

Everything’s scarier in Texas

“Killer Joe” is yet another project for Matthew McConaughey set in his native Texas — and not necessarily one that paints the best picture of the state. So why does Texas and the South in general continue to be such fertile ground for thrillers, horror movies and tales of the worst parts of human nature? “On a very basic level, you’ve got fear like from ‘the Shining,’ which is, ‘Yell as loud as you want, no one’s going to hear you,’” McConaughey explains. “In the South, there’s more room. Trailer parks are inhabited, but when you hear domestic violence next door in a trailer park, you don’t go over there and go, ‘Hey, what the hell is going on?’ You mind your own business.”

But McConaughey, long a booster of Texas, thinks it’s something more positive — a propensity for storytelling — that makes the area such a popular setting. “There’s something to the geography and the space in the South and the rural areas, where a lot of great drama has come out of it,” he says. “There’s a lot more sit on the front porch and see the day go by and sum it up. It happens everywhere, but I know where we grew up, that’s what dinner was — storytelling time.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

Style

Sarah Doukas on social media, models and diversity

The maker of Kate Moss tells Metro how social media can drive the diversity change in the fashion industry.

Education

Here are this year's most creative college application…

The college application essay is one of the only times during the admissions process where a student can showcase his or her personality. While many…

Style

Nicola Formichetti on Diesel, the digital revolution and…

The artistic director of fashion label Diesel – and stylist for Lady Gaga – is creating human connection through social media.

Education

Your older siblings probably had a big impact…

As many high school students agonize over where to go to college, it turns out they turn to a very familiar source for advice and…