As superhero movies have risen to prominence throughout the new millennium, the talent such projects have been able to attract has grown in pedigree and star power. Nowadays, it's almost second nature for Oscar caliber actors like Robert Downey, Jr. and Christian Bale to become the leading figures in a massive franchise. One only has to look at recent examples like Robert Redford (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and Jared Leto (Suicide Squad) to see that even if it's a supporting role in question, comic book adaptations are becoming credible enterprises in the eyes of Hollywood's elite.
So who might be the next A-lister to lend his or her abilities to the ever-expanding realm of superhero films? It may very well be the in-demand, Academy Award-winning Matthew McConaughey, who revealed he has been courted by both Marvel and DC to the point where he's read scripts from the rival studios.
While speaking with Variety, the actor touched on his flirtations with the world of superheroes, stating that he hasn't found the right part yet, but it is something he'd be interested in doing:
"I’ve read some Marvel and DC scripts and I’ve talked about working with them on some scripts, none of which I’ll share with with you what they are — or were. Yeah, I’ve circled some of those. Nothing has been right for me yet. But I’m sure open to it."
After the "McConaissance" blew up the zeitgeist with the thespian's turns in Dallas Buyers Club and season 1 of True Detective, anything he signs on for generates widespread interest. For that reason, it isn't surprising that Marvel and DC would be keen on doing business with McConaughey. Not only is he a multi-faceted performer with great range (he's done comedy and drama well), he's a marquee name that could sell casual audiences on something more outlandish than a Batman or Spider-Man movie. As both companies start to go deep into their vaults for new material, bringing in someone of McConaughey's stature would help spur interest (see: the Suicide Squad cast).
The prospect of McConaughey in a superhero film is certainly a tantalizing one, so the question most will want answered is what it would take to get him to sign the dotted line. When asked about that, the actor offered a thoughtful - though somewhat typical - response about the importance of story and character:
“It’s very simple for me. I look at the script. Is the opportunity exciting? Is the money that comes with it exciting? Sure. Is it the possibility of going, 'Hey you can get on a train and it can be a franchise and you could do 3, 4, 5, and have a great time as some kind of superhero or anti-hero.' But I would also look at something like that and say, 'Hey, in success that means you are on the train for a while.' Contractually, you’re going to return to the character over and over. It’s something I asked myself is it something I’d want to return to. Would I be excited to go back and put the shoes on the character again? Going and doing the press tour with that group of people again? I always ask myself those questions again. It starts with the story and character.”
It shouldn't come as a surprise to our longtime readers that McConaughey has this mindset. It's been well-documented that being involved with a major franchise like the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a grueling process that drains a lot from filmmakers and actors both physically and mentally. Joss Whedon is only the most recent example; Chris Evans has expressed his desire to move on from his Captain America role to pursue other interests. McConaughey seems very aware of this and is taking all aspects of being in a superhero movie into account before he agrees to something. It's smart he does so - especially since he's not in the need of a boost in profile.
Fans will no doubt be interested in seeing if McConaughey ever finds the part that's right for him in either comic book movie universe at some point down the line. If story and character are his top two priorities, the upcoming slate of films look to have those covered (at least on paper). Scarlett Johansson has stated that there's a "mature story" for next year's Captain America: Civil War and McConaughey's fellow Oscar winner Ben Affleck has sung the praises of Warner Bros./DC as they get their Justice League series off the ground. McConaughey hasn't shied away from big blockbusters before, so maybe quotes like that will make him take notice and we'll see him become a part of a comic book film soon.