McConaughey toughens up

For while, Hollywood seemed to decide that it wasn’t possible to make a romcom or a chick flick without featuring Matthew McConaughey. He was the go-to choice for the boyfriend who needed sorting out, the interesting love interest, the lovelorn schmuck. There weren’t many male cinema-goers around who would cite McConaughey as one of their favourite actors.

That may be about to change as McConaughey at last sinks his teeth into some meatier roles, ones that don’t require him to bare his emotional soul or be sensitive to the needs of his woman.

Killer Joe has a title which already hints "probably not a date movie". McConaughey plays a contract killer. The Paperboy will also shock those who think the actor is the king of clean-cut blandness, featuring some provocative S & M scenes.

He isn’t exactly ready to disown all his past work just yet. "I did a few romantic comedies," he told The Guardian, obviously using the word "few" as a synonym for "loads". "I enjoyed them. They paid well; they were fun. I didn't know if I wanted to do any more. I decided to sit out, and I had to endure for a while. Another one comes with a big old paycheck; I had to say no. I was looking for something to be turned on by."

He was turned on by the edgy characters in Killer Joe and The Paperboy. "I saw these as very determined, singular-willed fringe characters, arresting and kind of scary. I'm hanging my hat on reality and humanity, not morality. Not placating or pandering to any convention."

There you have it: the full transition from romcom eye-candy to wordy, self-important artist in one easy step.

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