KILLEEN Texas (Reuters) - Matthew McConaughey's upcoming film about a journey beyond the stars may as well be about the Texas actor's own stratospheric career these days.
From winning his best actor Oscar in March for "Dallas Buyers Club" to his lead role in the highly anticipated space-exploration drama "Interstellar," set to become one of the year's biggest movies, McConaughey has rocketed to a level of stardom unlike anything he said he has ever experienced before.
And he loves it, the actor told Reuters.
"I'm enjoying my career now more than ever," he said during a preview screening for military families at Fort Hood Army base, a few hours away from his ranch in Central Texas.
McConaughey, 44, takes the lead in "Interstellar," out in theaters on Nov. 7, the latest film by "Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan that McConaughey called "as enormous as anything that's been put on the screen."
"It's got questions that we can talk about until the end of time," he said.
McConaughey plays Cooper, a widowed father and former pilot grounded by his own circumstances, the defunding of space exploration, and other grim developments leading to Earth's fast-approaching demise.
Then Cooper is called upon to head deep into outer space to find a new galaxy for humanity to call home, but he faces leaving his family to pursue mankind's salvation.
"And there's no return ticket," McConaughey says. "That's a hell of a question. That's as hard as it can get."
Cooper's everyman status puts him in contrast to McConaughey's recent collection of antiheroes living on the fringe in movies like "Mud" and HBO's crime drama series "True Detective." Playing homophobic AIDS sufferer Ron Woodroof in "Dallas Buyers Club" earned the actor a Golden Globe and Screen Actor's Guild award.
Once pigeonholed into playing goofy hotshot characters in action movies and romantic comedies, McConaughey's turn towards grittier dramatic roles has been dubbed the McConaissance, a change that he attributes to being more settled and mature in his personal life.
"The target draws the arrow," he said, wearing a trucker hat he designed that reads "Alright" and "just keep living," a nod to his now-iconic Oscar speech. "I think I'm drawing things that are right for me right now."
McConaughey is being drawn back to his lighter roots, saying he is currently conceptualizing his own comedy. The actor betrays nothing else but a sly grin about the "comedy up my sleeve."
The actor said his most exciting and challenging role is being a father to his three young children with his Brazilian model wife, Camila Alves.
"It's a brand new movie every day," he added with a laugh.
His decision to star in "Interstellar" was inspired by his oldest, 6-year-old Levi, who wants to invent a spacesuit that will let him walk on the sun.
"I'm really turned on with what I'm doing day to day, in work and personally," he said. "I'm happy to be able to say that. It's not guaranteed, for sure."
(Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Andrew Hay)