Matthew McConaughey – Surfer, Dude

Matthew McConaughey – Surfer, Dude

By Beth Accomando

Interview with Matthew McConaughey and S. R. Bindler

Matthew McConaughey is sitting on the pool deck at the Hard Rock Hotel looking much like the character he plays in his new movie Surfer, Dude. The film marks the first project completely produced under McConaughey’s company Just Keep Livin’ and his enthusiasm was clearly evident. 

“Surfer, Dude was something we were trying to get made since 1998,” McConaughey tells me, “I optioned a script that had a premise of 56 days with no waves in 1998. I got a hoot out of it I thought it had some cool things to say, I thought it was kind of corny, I thought it was very absurd, and I thought the humor was my kind of humor.”

Surfer, Dude concerns internationally famous surfer Steve Addington (McConaughey) who comes home to Malibu to find things slightly out of kilter. His sponsors want him to participate in a reality TV show that’s anything but real and to digitize himself for immersion in a virtual reality surf video game. Making matters worse is the fact that the waves have gone flat. So Addington faces an existential crisis as he ponders whether or not to give in to the Man or fight the system and stay real.


McConaughey and director S. R. Bindler are out promoting the film’s message of keeping it real. Bindler liked how the script tackled “the manipulative nature of reality television, and that was an interesting theme because I come from a documentary background where my whole approach was don’t contrive something and this was the opposite. So that’s where it started for me. Then I thought what if we steered Addington to the analog side of life, making him an analog character that’s coming face to face with the emerging digital world and the inauthentic world because here’s a really authentic guy that’s coming up against some really inauthentic, fake, faux constructs, and reality television, and immersion virtual video games.” 

Part of the appeal for McConaughey was that he could be more hands on during the production: “As an actor I’m hired to show up hit my mark, know my stuff if it’s a big movie I work three months and I’m gone. So I was like I want to get into the pre-production of it, the production of it, and the post production so at the end of the day I can look in the mirror and go, “Yup, now I got a big responsibility.” Like it or not like it I know that I had my hands in the clay the whole time and I was responsible for a lot of it. The constraints of making a low budget ($6 million) indie film also spurred on creativity. “I think in a lot of ways it can encourage more and even better creativity because time is precious but you can’t be precious,” McConaughey says.

Bindler agrees and cites one of their favorite filmmakers as proof: “Lars Von Trier talks a lot about that, having obstructions, and that the hardest thing for an artist to deal with is having all the tools available and all the money all the time. It’s impossible and a hindrance to creativity. He used to put obstructions onto production, which forces the film to take on its own life and style.”

“You show up on the set in the morning, you’re on the set for 12 hours until the day’s done,” McConaughey says, “It’s hard but it’s fun.”

Surfer, Dude is currently in theaters.