Father-son dynamics are often difficult to understand. Men are often not considered to be highly expressive when it comes to relationships, but there’s no denying that the bond shared between a parent and a child can run deep. Despite the small conflicts or differences in ideologies, most sons look up to their fathers as role models. Therefore, losing them early in life can leave you with unbearabe pain. Apart from the emotional pain caused, it plays a major role in shaping the future of their sons. And it was no different for actor Matthew McConaughey. He also suffered a terrible loss in his early twenties, with the death of his father, James Donald McConaughey.
The sudden realization of not having his father in his life anymore had a profound impact on McConaughey.
According to People, McConaughey revealed how the death of his father in 1992 changed him. “A boy loses his father, he quickly becomes a man. I was 22. I remember clearly the sobriety I felt in the pain of my father passing,” said the Interstellar actor.
“The sorrow refined me, and I never looked at the world the same again,” the 50-year-old actor admits. McConaughey, who is known to be easy-going by his millioans of fans, also said that the loss of his father influenced him and changed his perspective of life. “Everything I revered and looked up to suddenly dropped to eye level and felt more mortal and attainable, while everything I had patronized and looked down upon rose up to a more respectful eye level and wasn’t beneath me,” added the actor, recalling the loss.
“The world was suddenly flat, and I looked it square in the eye with more courage and incentive than ever before.”
Though McConaughey has never really shown his vulnerable self to his fans in the past, he has talked a lot about his father. Promoting his movie Gold, the actor told Hollywood Reporter that the memories of his father enabled him to give birth to character, Kenny Wells in the movie. “There was parts of him that I observed and parts of him — his dealings with some people doing some shady deals — that were very Kenny Wells. Like taking me for a ride to go buy a hot Rolex watch the day before Christmas — when we were supposed to be getting stocking stuffers — from a guy named Chicago John, in a white van parked behind an abandoned shopping mall with downed power lines between the Dumpsters, [that my dad] paid $3,000 for because he thought it was worth $22,000. And it was probably worth $200. But it didn’t matter. It was the deal. It was, ‘How much fun is this?'”
The Oscar-winning actor even revealed how his dad encouraged him to follow his passion for acting. “I didn’t go down the same path as my family. I was headed towards law school … and I remember being very nervous on the night when I called [my dad] my sophomore year of college to tell him I wanted to change my course direction to go to film school. I really thought he was going to be ‘Not on my dime. Like hell you will,’” said the actor according to CNN. However, his father’s response surprised him. “He paused and I remember him saying, ‘Is that what you want to do?’ and I said ‘Yes, sir’ and he paused again and he said, ‘Well, don’t half a** it.’ And that was the end,” recalled the 50-year-old.
Though it has been years since his father’s death, the actor is surely pained by the incident. However, the good memories his father has helped him find comfort and inspiration. It is no surprise that the actor is also a great father to his three children with wife, Camila Alves.