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Matthew McConaughey Talks Longbranch Ranch and ‘Dazed and Confused’ – Rolling Stone

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It’s sunny On an October afternoon in the heart of Texas, Matthew McConaughey is in good spirits. “I got to watch my team finish a game, and they actually won,” the Austin FC soccer club co-owner said on Zoom. Now, the Oscar-winning actor is ready to sit down and talk about a place he’s spent a lot of time visiting: the Hill Country.

“Rivers, streams, springs, it’s just a healthy, vibrant way of life that I’ve always enjoyed there,” McConaughey says. It’s no wonder, then, that the Lone Star State native and creative director of Longbranch, the bourbon he created with Wild Turkey master distiller Eddie Russell in 2018, decided to partner with Walden Retreats to launch here a luxury glamping experience.

Known as Longbranch Ranch at Walden Retreats, guests can now book their stay as early as Spring 2023, with rates per night starting at $425. For each jaunt booked, Longbranch says it will donate the same amount to the local nonprofit Trail Conservancy, which helps support and protect the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail.

“The bourbon is really kind of a metaphor for the experience you have there,” McConaughey said of the getaway, located an hour from Austin. This includes everything from guided fly fishing at night on the bank of the Pedernales River down the hill from your private tent, to cocktail lessons or a private performance of a string quartet playing rock hits up close. of a campfire.

“It’s a luxury drink. It is a luxury place. It has all the comforts, but look over your shoulder,” he tells me. “Want a bit of nature in the open air? It’s just over your shoulder,” later adding that “not all five-star experiences need to be at the Ritz.”

For McConaughey, he says he prefers places with a “bite of certain elements outside the door, where nature is part of the backyard.” Where you are not isolated from nature.

rolling stone caught up with McConaughey on a video call from Longbranch Ranch to find out more about what guests can expect from the new retreat, the albums he keeps coming back to and his favorite filming memories Dazed and confused nearby nearly three decades ago.

Courtesy of Longbranch

People have been drinking Longbranch whiskey for a while now, but this kind of experience takes it to the next level. What do you hope visitors who come here to Longbranch Ranch take away?
Listen, man, it’s hard to find quiet time for ourselves in the world today. It’s hard to unplug, it’s hard to check for the so-called recording. That’s what I hope this experience is. … Hopefully people come out of there a little more recharged. When I sip, starting around sunset when I sip Longbranch, it relaxes me.

When I relax, my mind goes more to a Saturday night frequency and that’s where my creative ideas come from. Or maybe it’s just sipping, being quiet, not talking to anyone. It’s a social drink, but it’s also something I like to take alone and try to enjoy my own company.

Courtesy of Longbranch

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And out there in nature, we put things there intentionally, like Green light, the book, the newspaper – people need more time to sit down and say “Well, how are you?” And you talk to yourself. [Laughs] You know what I mean? Or think of nothing. Like I said, check to check. And there, with a sip of that, I think it’s a pretty damn good combination to be able to do that.

Courtesy of Longbranch

You describe your book Green light like some sort of album, or record, the story of your life. In terms of music, what are the albums you keep coming back to – which are the albums of your life?
You know what, I went back to the guy who kind of wrote the lyrics that formed my version of patriotism, John Mellencamp. But I listened to some of his stuff before he was Mellencamp, back when he was John Cougar. This Uh-huh! album, I think it was 1981 or ’82, what a great album. Kenny Aronoff on drums. … It’s a rock, rock album in which I reintroduced myself.

by Bob Dylan Highway 61 revisited, I can’t get enough of it. I love it. He reminds me, every time I hear him, that he’s the original rapper, and he’s throwing it on this album. AC DC Highway to Hell is still one of my favorite rock albums. Sturgill Simpson Metamodern Sounds in Country Music: microphone drop.

I go back to some of them that are still there, every time they air, wherever, side A, side B, whatever song, let it play.


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2023 is about to be a big year for you with the opening of Longbranch Ranch and many milestone anniversaries. how to lose a guy in 10 days, 20 years, Dallas Buyers Club, 10 years. And then 30 years with Dazed and confused.
I did not know this calculation!

I know, we’re doing math here. But Dizzy was shot not too far from here. What are some of your fondest filming memories?
So I’m in school one of those summers, where I made sure I could get three hours of class so I could stay in Austin. Go to the right bar, at the right time, meet the right guy, get cast in that movie. I was supposed to work – I had three lines written in this script. I had to come and work one, two days.

And the director, Richard Linklater, who still lives in the Hill Country, kept inviting me back on set. Next thing you know, I work every day for three weeks, and I have a main character in this movie. The first words that came out of my mouth about a movie 30 years ago were “Okay, okay, okay”. The very first scene of the very first film in which I was an actor. And here he always introduces me and is part of a fun vernacular in the world. That’s where I learned about working together to make a good film.

I went to this movie, I was in film school, I thought making a movie, and being a director, you had to be a dictator. I was wrong. If it was a dictatorship, they wouldn’t have allowed any of my improvisations, riffs, and all the other actors wouldn’t have invited me into scenes like they did. I saw Richard Linklater take ideas, a good idea from a production assistant while dropping by at lunch. You don’t see it all the time. Even these days, when I go to work, you don’t see that in a lot of movies.

That collaboration and open creative mind is what I remember. And the fact that all these actors, who were all mostly, were already actors, opening their arms and their ideas to a newcomer, me, a local kid, for whom they didn’t have to do this for me . They could have been a lot more selfish and said, “We’re not giving this guy more screen time.”

They invited me into scenes. They were throwing lines at me in the middle of scenes that weren’t even scripted, and all of a sudden they wrote to me. This generosity is where I learned and I always try to remember that in the future when I do films and all kind of the creative process, this kind of generosity is where I learned it the low. It’s Richard Linkater, and it’s this whole cast of Dizzy.

And the nights! Days and nights…remember it was a summer in Austin, and I was already having a great summer and everyone was having a great summer. Everyone was in a good mood. Behind the camera, our whole mood would kind of transform into what we do on camera. I wasn’t like, “OK, we’re all having a good time, now let’s get serious when we’re on camera.” No, we’re having a good time, just keep having a good time and move right in front of the camera because we’re recording. And I have…shown a lot of people [from] New York and Los Angeles, what a great Saturday afternoon floating down the Pedernales or New Braunfels River. They thought they were on Mars.


You mentioned the proximity to Linklater in the Texas Hill Country. What is your favorite memory with him?
The best memory with him is that it was a conversation with him, right after my father passed away. My father died five days after filming Dazed and confused, and I came back and he and I were walking around the plateau and then to Hill Country. And he and I were talking about my dad moving, and that’s when “Keep on living” came out of my mouth to keep my dad’s spirit alive even though he was physically gone.

And I don’t know if that came out of my mouth or would have become some sort of compass for me to go through life unless I had taken that walk and Richard Linklater would have been the new buddy of mine who took me would have asked about a very difficult time in my life.