Woody Harrelson’s Off-Screen Relationship With Matthew McConaughey Was Just Like in True Detective

Woody Harrelson found it hard to deal with Matthew McConaughey while working on True Detective.

Matthew McConaughey was on a roll in the 2010s with back-to-back hits and some of the greatest moments of his career. After becoming popular as the lovable romantic lead in many films of the 2000s including How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, the 2010s saw the actor flex his acting chops.

Matthew Mconaughey and Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

The decade saw two of McConaughey’s most celebrated works including the Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club and Emmy-winning series True Detective. The latter saw him star alongside his close friend Woody Harrelson. It seems McConaughey’s insistence to stay in character during production irritated Harrelson a lot.

Matthew McConaughey’s Process Blurred Reel and Real Life on Sets of True Detective

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in True Detective season 1

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in True Detective Season 1
Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey starred in the first season of HBO’s hit anthology series, True Detective. The pair played two Louisiana homicide detectives tasked with solving a serial murder spawning several years, while also dealing with own troubled past and family dynamics.

Throughout the series, Harrelson’s character does not quite get along with McConaughey’s character and they frequently bicker among themselves. It seems this on-screen relationship translated off-screen when the camera was not rolling due to McConaughey’s behavior on set. Harrelson talked about this aspect on the Smartless podcast.

Harrelson revealed that he was annoyed with McConaughey frequently while working on the series, despite being the best of friends. McConaughey stayed in character throughout production and his embodiment of the annoying character in real life made Harrelson want to slap him. While they couldn’t have much fun on sets, Harrelson noted that it helped in producing a great result. He said,

“Yeah. I mean, you know, there were times I would get kinda angry with Matthew,” Harrelson said. “And he’s one of my best buddies, so it felt weird. But he was in character and that f***ing character just made me want to f***ing slap him. He’s so good. But he’d stay in character. You know, not after work, but while we were at work. It wasn’t like ‘Heyyy, buddy!’ None of that. So that was a little… But, anyway, it turned out good.”

McConaughey is known for his intense preparation and method approach to portray complex characters. Method acting may be uncomfortable for the other actors involved who want to form a certain sense of camaraderie and Harrelson’s frustration is understandable.

Nevertheless, the series became one of the greatest of the 2010s and the best entry among the four seasons. Fans can watch season 1 of True Detective on Max.

Jennifer Garner Had a Miserable Experience on Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club
Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, and Jennifer Garner starred in Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey played the real-life cowboy named Ron Woodroof, who was diagnosed with AIDS in the 80s and chronicled his efforts to treat himself and other AIDS patients using unapproved pharmaceutical drugs.

McConaughey and Leto (who played a trans-woman with AIDS), starved themselves for a period of time to achieve a sickly look. He and Leto lost so much weight that it became uncomfortable for Garner to observe them suffer by putting themselves through such harmful conditions. She admitted that she hated making the film as she was so disturbed seeing what the two men were doing to their body. She told Collider,

“Well Matthew, we’d all been seeing him lose weight in pictures before he ever got the job. And then, I went down to New Orleans to do a camera test and I saw him. I knew he was in there. I chatted with him and was totally normal, and then I went into another room and went, ‘Uhhhh’ and collected myself because it gave me the shakes to see him look so ill.”

Jared, on the other hand, got the job and just stopped eating. And Jared, you just couldn’t look at him. I hated it. I actually hated making this movie – and I never say that – because I was so disturbed watching these boys do this to their body. I just wanted it to be over”

The hard work and intense prep that the two men underwent paid off as they received universal acclaim for their performance in the film. McConaughey and Leto won the Oscar for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively. Fans can watch the film on Peacock.


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