Matthew McConaughey

Reign of Fire

Interviewed by Alec Cawthorne

How did you decide on the look for your character, Van Zan, in "Reign of Fire"?

The idea came to me in a dream. Every other character I played in a movie had some sort of a biography to look at. But playing a dragonslayer in 2025 meant that there was no research I could do. I woke with a picture in my mind of a guy with a bald head who looked like a bullet. Then I grew the beard and went to my ranch to get in shape. I was running four miles a day and started boxing, which I maintained in Dublin at a gym. I also wrestled with cows at the ranch. We have about 70 cows and I'd throw my shoulder into them. They don't bite too much.

Did all your tattoos in the movie make you think about getting a real one?

I worked on the tattoos with a guy in a Dublin tattoo parlour. They are actually two dragons that wrap round my shoulder and come down to my navel. They took two hours to do every morning. I do want one now and I have an idea of what it'll be, but I'm keeping it a secret.

The fight scene between you and Christian Bale looked very realistic. Was there much damage done?

I had some bumps and bruises. The head butt on Christian was real. It was accidental and happened in the heat of the moment and I put a nice egg on Christian's forehead. Good on him, though, for staying in there and finishing the scene. I was saying "Cut" because I was worried. Our knuckles and knees were bloodied.

What's your career philosophy?

Be the lean horse for the long ride. I figure I am in the third round of a 15 round fight.

It's been said that you have plans to make a children's movie. What can you tell us about that?

I'm keeping it pretty well under wraps. But I can tell you that it's a fairy tale about a little boy who is a fisherman. It's about his dreams. I'm going to be writer/producer/director on that but right now I've got to get the thing written.