Matthew McConaughey, thin as the Park City air, does, in fact, eat.
Popping jalapenos and chomping on asparagus stalks like Bugs Bunny eating carrots, McConaughey co-hosted (with director Jeff Nichols) a dinner for the cast and producers of his Sundance Film Festival entry Mud.
Unlike most Sundance movies, Mud arrived with a distribution deal intact. Roadside Attractions is planning an April release. Co-president Howard Cohen and senior vice-president Gail Blumenthal were at the party, in the Grey Goose lounge at Park City’s Blue Door restaurant.
Mud was shot before the actor dropped 13.5 kilos for his role as an Aids patient in Dallas Buyer’s Club, coming later this year.
“When I saw myself in the trailer [for Mud], I looked huge,” McConaughey said, after finishing a plate of off-menu salmon.
Mud, written and directed by Nichols (Take Shelter), is a Mississippi tall tale about two 14-year-old boys (think Huck and Tom) helping a charming, unwashed fugitive (named Mud and played by, well, you know) dodge bounty hunters in a backwoods Delta hideaway.
McConaughey shares most of his screen time with the two boys — Tye Sheridan (Tree of Life), who was at the dinner party, and newcomer Jacob Lofland, who was not.
The star also has a couple of big moments with Sam Shepard, the actor and writer who plays the wizened old river coot who raised Mud.
The film lets them dive headlong into grizzled, deep-fried Delta accents.
“He’s the first person I called when I saw the movie the first time,” McConaughey says.
“I said, man you’ve done a lot, but I’m telling you, you are great in this one.”