McConaughey finds age, parenthood impacting career

Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:43pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Best known for romantic comedies, Matthew McConaughey is doing what many men do when they reach their 40s and find fatherhood -- thinking more seriously about life and that has reflected in his work.

McConaughey's new movie, legal drama "The Lincoln Lawyer," hits U.S. theaters on Friday with the actor, who once made magazine covers more for his muscled-up, washboard stomach than his acting prowess, portraying a defender of the downtrodden whose morals are challenged by a wealthy, Beverly Hills bad boy.

The 41-year-old told Reuters that he sees a lot of himself in the role of Michael "Mick" Haller, an attorney who is struggling with life-and-death issues and the direction his own moral compass is pointing.

McConaughey said he doesn't necessarily take one movie role or another because he is now solidly in middle-age and has a son and daughter with companion Camila Alves. But reaching that point does influence his role choice.

"I didn't think, 'Oh, now I've got family, let me make different choices,' but maybe I'm making different choices and that's not coincidental," he said.

It is not that McConaughey has avoided serious roles in the past. His filmography features titles such as the John Grisham legal thriller, "A Time to Kill" and Steven Spielberg's "Amistad." But the Texas native is better known for titles like "The Wedding Planner" or "Surfer, Dude."

Mick Haller in "Lincoln Lawyer" is perhaps different than any role in his past. Haller is a Los Angeles defense attorney who works out of the backseat of his Lincoln Continental. His clients are more likely to be pimps, prostitutes and petty drug dealers than doctors, businessmen or big corporations.

Then, Mick gets a call job to defend a wealthy young man (Ryan Phillippe) who has been accused of attempted rape and murder. Seeing an easy case to defend and big bucks in his bank account, Mick jumps at the chance, but soon finds the job far more complicated than he imagined.


<p>Cast member Matthew McConaughey poses at the premiere of "Tropic Thunder" at the Mann's Village theatre in Westwood, California August 11, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>