On the occasion of the theatrical release of Gold, discover Matthew McConaughey’s new film by Stephen Gaghan, director of Syriana and screenwriter of Traffic.
By Stephen Gaghan with Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez
Kenny Wells a great in the middle of gold diggers. Just like his father, he is not afraid to climb mountains and dig into the ground to make a fortune. But in a world where a simple game of chance can make the difference between a billionaire and an outright loser, it can’t be said that luck has smiled on Kenny. However, the man embodies the entrepreneurial spirit par excellence and the unshakeable faith in the ability to overcome all obstacles.
So he sells the little he has left and goes to the other side of the planet: to Indonesia. He is convinced that he will find gold in one of the densest and most terrifying jungles in the world: Borneo. After teaming up with the legendary geologist Mike Acosta, they will have to face together nature, the financial institutions of Wall Street and the worst conspiracies…
1. Matthew McConaughey Makeover
Matthew McConaughey appears with baldness in the film when he has none in real life; he indeed shaved his head in Thailand, then wore a false skull and false teeth. The actor also gained weight for the role: “For me, Kenny has gotten into the habit of eating on the go and he’s let himself go, which doesn’t stop him from bursting with energy. So I figured I could eat and drink whatever I wanted. I wanted for four months. Two months later, I already weighed 95 kg, which was unprecedented for me!”, he says. Note that it is, at the stage of a Christian Bale or of a Jared Letoaccustomed to metamorphosing for a role, as he had shown on Dallas Buyers Club.
2. Family history
In addition to playing the main role, Matthew McConaughethere is also a producer of Gold. The actor was particularly touched by the story of Kenny Wells, who reminds him of a man he himself knew; a certain Chicago John, whom his father had introduced to him in 1987 and who resold all kinds of objects, from household appliances to more sophisticated gadgets. Kenny Wells is also close to his father’s personality, as he likes to recall: “My father did indeed invest in a diamond mine in Ecuador. But there are no diamonds in Ecuador! He went there with his machete and he cut his way through the jungle We liked to tell dad that as soon as there was a rotten plan on the horizon, he wanted to try his luck! But he preferred to embark on a rotten plan, work with funny people and live a real adventure than to engage in a legit project and be bored with a bunch of stuck up people”he laughs.
3. A true story… or almost
Screenwriters and Producers Patrick Massette and John Zinman were inspired by a real scandal of the 1990s, the Bre X scandal; a Canadian mining company had revealed that an entrepreneur and a geologist had discovered a gigantic deposit of gold in Indonesia, so that it was instantly quoted at several billion dollars on the stock exchange. The two men then moved away from the real facts by inventing the characters of Kenny Wells and Mike Acosta, and transposing the story to the 1980s. A roundabout way for Massett and Zinman to talk about the issues of the financial crisis of 2008, closer to the spectators.
4. New York will always be New York
The filming of Gold stretched over 55 days. The Indonesian scenes were shot in Thailand, those in Reno (Nevada) in Alburquerque (New Mexico) and those in New York… in New York. For the producer Teddy Schwarzmaneach of these places reflects a particular reality: “Reno embodies our world, our HQ in a way. It’s where the characters really are themselves and drop the mask. The Indonesian jungle symbolizes hope, adventure and the possibility of somewhere else. New York we train in a world of excess, greed and worldliness, where our characters may – or may not – fit in but where they find ways to make their place.”he points out.
5. Maintain control
The scenario of Gold was included in the Blacklist of the most promising screenplays awaiting development, after being rejected by several production companies. To keep control of their project, Patrick Massette and John Zinman then made the choice to produce the film themselves rather than offering it to the highest bidder. A coherent decision with regard to the theme of the film: “The film raises the question of whether it is worth winning big on a material level at the risk of losing your soul”to affirm Patrick Massette.
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