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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Elizabeth Taylor's Final Farewell; One-on-One Matthew McConaughey

Aired March 25, 2011 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, Hollywood's farewell to Elizabeth Taylor. Inside the star's exclusive sendoff. Only her very closest friends and family were at the funeral. And tonight, I'll talk to two of them.

The best man from one of Elizabeth's eight weddings and one of her best friends. His Hollywood royalty herself.

Then an exclusive interview of Matthew McConaughey, family man, surfer dude, and one of Hollywood's hottest heartthrobs whose romanced some of the most beautiful in the world on screen and off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, ACTOR, "THE LINCOLN LAWYER": My life is pretty damn good.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Tonight, the things you don't know about superstar Matthew McConaughey.

This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening. Elizabeth Taylor did everything in life her way and her final farewell was no different. The star gave instructions she was to be fashionably late for her own funeral, exactly 15 minutes to be precise. And she was laid to rest near her good friend, Michael Jackson.

The one-hour service included a poetry reading by actor Colin Farrell. Also among the mourners was Victoria Brynner who's known Elizabeth all her life, and she joins me now.

Victoria, you're one of less than 50 people who attended Elizabeth Taylor's funeral yesterday. How would you describe the occasion?

VICTORIA BRYNNER, YUL BRYNNER'S DAUGHTER: It was -- you know, it was very much how we've been around Elizabeth. It was her children, and a few of us were sort of the aggregate family, which was very intimate and very quiet and just lovely. Just sad, obviously.

MORGAN: And I hear that Colin Farrell, the actor, was there, and actually recited some Irish poetry.

BRYNNER: Yes. They knew each other, and I'm not really sure how this came about. But it was actually a lovely added note, an additional speaker which was welcome.

MORGAN: And you were Elizabeth's goddaughter. Tell me about it. What was she like as a godmother?

BRYNNER: She was lovely. I called her my fairy godmother. She was miraculous and loving and warm and present and generous and giving, and everything you could wish from that kind of relationship.

MORGAN: And I love the fact that she left instructions to be late for her own funeral, 15 minutes late.

BRYNNER: Not that late in her book.

(LAUGHTER)

BRYNNER: I must say we waited for her many times, and never only 15 minutes.

MORGAN: So ironically may have been the earliest she ever turned up.

BRYNNER: Probably so.

MORGAN: I mean she was an absolutely fabulous star, I thought Elizabeth Taylor. She really led the life of how you want stars to be on and off screen. I mean she managed to maintain the mystique of her celebrity status. I think better than most people, didn't she?

BRYNNER: She really did. But you know I think that seeing it from the inside, she really wasn't different at home than she was out on the screen. And that incredible courage, that ability to stand up for the people she wanted to stand up for, the causes that she believed in.

She always looked great at home as she did outside of the home. There wasn't really this double persona that you tend to see these days.

MORGAN: And she had a Jewish ceremony. Is that right?

BRYNNER: Yes, she did.

MORGAN: Because she converted to the Jewish faith --

BRYNNER: She converted to Judaism and I don't have track of what year that was. But yes, she did.

MORGAN: Describe to me since you're one of the very few people to be there, what was the atmosphere like through the day?

BRYNNER: You know, it was a fairly short ceremony. And it was lovely, and it was in a fairly small, narrow space. Under a beautiful white angel, a very large statue. And that is where she will be laid to rest. And it was just a short moment with family members speaking, and some quiet moments to reflect. And lots of hugs and lots of tears.

MORGAN: I want to show you now a clip, this is from when your father Yul presented Elizabeth with her Best Actress Oscar in 1961 for her performance in "BUtterfield 8." And we actually have the clip to show you now.

BRYNNER: Oh, great. Great.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YUL BRYNNER, ACTOR: This year there were many magnificent performances by actresses. The five nominated were, Greer Garson in "Sunshine at Campobello", Deborah Kerr in the "Sundowners", Shirley MacLaine in "The Apartment", Melina Mercouri in "Never on Sunday", and Elizabeth Taylor in "Butterfield 8."

The envelope, please. Elizabeth Taylor.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR, ACADEMY-AWARD WINNING ACTRESS: I don't really know how to express my gratitude for this and for everything. I guess all I can do is say thank you. Thank you with all my heart.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That's just amazing to watch, isn't it?

BRYNNER: Oh, it's great. Two of my favorite people, just a wonderful moment.

MORGAN: I mean your dad would just looked the absolutely archetypal or rugged handsome superstar, and there's Liz Taylor really being just so impossibly glamorous.

BRYNNER: Yes. She was fabulous. They lived at the time, I think it was more or less at that time my parents had a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. And Elizabeth and Eddie Fisher had one right next door. And that's sort of when that friendship began.

MORGAN: And your father, he took many pictures of Elizabeth Taylor through the years. Tell me about their relationship.

BRYNNER: My father was a great photographer, and I actually put a book out last year called "Yul: A Photographic Journey," in which some of these pictures are published. And he photographed a lot of his friends in very intimate moments. And one of the series of pictures that I love are these pictures of Elizabeth and her kids around the pool on a Sunday at Richard Brooks' house.

MORGAN: What do you think is probably the biggest misconception about Elizabeth Taylor from your experience of knowing her?

BRYNNER: You know, it's hard to say because I knew her as a person, and I don't know her as what's in the public eye. I don't know that there is a misconception. I think she was an incredibly complex person. She had a very interesting life in terms of what her personal challenges were, and what her health challenges were.

Her emotional life was very full. I think that one thing that we hang on to as a family, and I include myself in that thanks to her including me in the tight friendship I have with her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, is that she was just an incredible matriarch.

And she brought us all together over and over through holidays, especially at Thanksgiving. At Easter, which was her favorite holiday. And she opened her home, and she was really a mom and a grandma. And that's maybe a side that the public didn't get to see.

MORGAN: It sounds like you're going to all miss her terribly.

BRYNNER: Yes, we will. Very much so.

MORGAN: Well, she was an extraordinary lady. A wonderful actress and clearly a wonderful human being, as well.

And I'm so glad that you could join me, Victoria. Thank you very much.

BRYNNER: Thank you for having me.

MORGAN: Jose Eber, was also at yesterday's funeral. He's known Elizabeth Taylor for 30 years. He was her hairdresser, a best man at her 8th wedding to Larry Fortensky. Jose joins me now.

Jose, it must have a very sad day for you yesterday.

JOSE EBER, CLOSE FRIEND OF ELIZABETH TAYLOR FOR 30 YEARS: It was very sad. Very sad, but I also felt like that we celebrated her life and all of the very close family members and friends were there. So it felt -- actually it felt very -- I had a great feeling about it because I think this is a woman, Elizabeth, who lived her life to the fullest.

And also the part that was beautiful yesterday that was all the close friends that she really loved. And obviously all her family members.

MORGAN: And --

EBER: And we were all together, and it was less than 50 people. And it was very, very private, but very beautiful.

MORGAN: And she also chose to be buried quite near to Michael Jackson. They were obviously very good friends. I once interviewed Michael Jackson, actually, and he told me about his friendship with Elizabeth and said how they used to dress up in disguise and go off to movie theaters and watch movies together.

EBER: I know they did a lot of silly stuff, Elizabeth and Michael, absolutely. Like two children because you know -- I mean, she talked about it, he talked about it. They didn't really have a childhood. So they had fun being adult children, actually. And they did a lot of stuff together that nobody knew they did.

MORGAN: Yes. I want to play you, Jose, a clip from the ABC special for her 65th birthday, which starred Michael Jackson.

(VIDEO CLIP FROM ABC)

MORGAN: It was an amazing night. I mean she was suffering --

EBER: We love -- she loved -- she loved that song. She loved that song. I mean, I remember a friend of mine when Michael Jackson passed, a friend of mine sent me this CD from Europe actually, and I don't know how he got hold of it, but he did send it to me. And I gave it to her, and she kept listening to that song, loved it. Cried each time she listened to it.

MORGAN: I think you hit it on the head, Jose, when you said that, you know, she lived her life completely to the fullest. So unlike when Michael died so tragically young, you did get a feeling with Elizabeth Taylor that she's had this remarkable life, and there's not so much terrible mourning in her death. There's a great celebration of an amazing life.

EBER: Oh, totally. I mean, that's the way I feel, and that's why I don't mind talking about her because I would like people to know the way she lived. And it's not only the things that you read about in the tabloid. She lived -- every day, waking up and being involved.

I mean, she just redecorated her bedroom in sky blue. She chose this color that she loved the blue. I mean she just did it recently. I mean, she was involved in the launch of her latest perfume which was violet eyes that she didn't even choose.

Her Twitter friends chose that name "Violet Eyes." And they launched it last year actually. And she was totally involved and excited about it. And all of us got to smell it, did we like it, which one we would like more. So she was doing something on a daily basis.

MORGAN: Jose, I mean, as her hairdresser and in fact you were one of the groomsmen at her wedding to Larry Fortensky, nobody, I would imagine, knew more of Elizabeth Taylor's secrets than you. And yet you were dignified in not revealing those to the world.

I mean, tell me about the private Elizabeth Taylor.

EBER: No, no. But that's what I believe she loved -- I mean, the reason we had such a long friendship, I believe, is that because she knew she could trust me. And yes, I was exposed to everything. I would see her constantly. And I -- what I thought was private stayed private to this day actually. I've been asked a lot of personal questions about her. But I never would reveal that. I would respect that always.

And as a person, she obviously -- you heard, she had an amazing sense of humor. She was a best friend that anybody can wish to have. She was so human, so much wanted to make sure that you were OK. She wanted everybody around her to be taken care of. And that's what she did on a daily basis.

It was more important for her that we all felt good and had a good life that -- about her problems.

MORGAN: And Jose --

(CROSSTALK)

EBER: That's what made her --

MORGAN: I've interviewed quite a few people this week who knew her well. And there seems to be some debate over who was the great love of her life. Some say Richard Burton, some say Michael Todd.

You're in a pretty good position to know the answer. Who do you think the one of all the men --

EBER: No, but I mean -- I believe the answer was obviously the longest one was Richard Burton. Obviously it was the great love of her life. Lots of photographs in her bedroom of Richard.

I mean actually Elizabeth cutting Richard's hair which people didn't know that she was so talented. One thing she would have liked to become was a hairstylist because she had that great talent about cutting hair.

And she would cut Richard's hair all the time, which she told me that. And she even would cut her own hair when I wasn't around. And she always felt very -- she was always very shy about it and always felt like she didn't do a great job, then would call me and to reinsure her that she did a great job.

MORGAN: And Jose --

EBER: It was actually very fun.

MORGAN: And Jose, finally, if you could use one word to sum up Elizabeth Taylor, what word would you go for?

EBER: Oh, unique in every which way. One of a kind. Never will be seen again a person like hers. To me, that's the way I see it. Never -- I mean the most unique human being I've ever met, ever seen, and the most giving, loving person that -- and it's a blessing that she was in my life. And I'll be thankful for that the rest of my life.

MORGAN: I think unique is the best possible word.

Jose Eber, thank you so much for joining me tonight.

EBER: Thank you. Thank you for having me. Thank you.

MORGAN: When we come back, today's screen royalty. A revealing conversation with A-lister Matthew McConaughey. What you don't know about the Hollywood heartthrob.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: And joining me now is Matthew McConaughey.

Matthew, you've always struck me as one of those guys I'd really like to be. Is your life as good as I imagine it to be?

MCCONAUGHEY: My life is pretty damn good.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: I don't have much to complain about.

MORGAN: You don't?

MCCONAUGHEY: And if I do, I complain about some of the things I've got, I'd be being kind of a sissy about some things.

MORGAN: Really? You get all these great parts. You've passed a billion-dollar box office -- are you aware of that?

MCCONAUGHEY: I am?

MORGAN: With this movie.

MCCONAUGHEY: I did not know that.

MORGAN: What do you think of that?

MCCONAUGHEY: That's strong.

(CROSSTALK)

MCCONAUGHEY: I had no idea.

MORGAN: Every movie you make put together.

MCCONAUGHEY: I had no idea.

MORGAN: You're a billion-dollar man.

MCCONAUGHEY: I had no idea. I like that.

MORGAN: Cool, isn't it?

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes, that's cool.

MORGAN: There aren't many in the billion-dollar club.

MCCONAUGHEY: Wow. That makes me think back about -- yes, when did it start -- '92, so 19 years ago. That's something.

MORGAN: And this is --

MCCONAUGHEY: My dad's here now, he's digging that right now. MORGAN: Yes, what would he think of it?

MCCONAUGHEY: He'd love that, man. My brother who's out there, too, who's still trying to -- we have a competition about, you know, who's making more.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: That's going to really put --

MORGAN: I think you've got --

MCCONAUGHEY: That's going to really set him back.

MORGAN: You may just have really --

MCCONAUGHEY: You better start pedaling that pipe, buddy.

MORGAN: He's off to rehab after that revelation.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: That's the slam-dunk.

MCCONAUGHEY: I like that. Did not know that.

MORGAN: I'm amazed you didn't know that.

MCCONAUGHEY: I had no idea.

MORGAN: Most movie stars know exactly how much they've made. Part of their race on debt on the ex-million, ex-hundred million --

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes. No, I've got no idea. I know how much I have in my account.

MORGAN: How much?

MCCONAUGHEY: Just enough that my kids aren't going to have to worry about themselves, but enough that they're going to have to work for it.

MORGAN: I love the phrase "just enough." I mean you --

MCCONAUGHEY: I got a nice egg. I got a nice egg.

MORGAN: A nice egg?

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes, you know that egg -- I have the number that I'm going, OK, I'm going to be fine, my lady is going to be fine, my kids are going to be fine. And we can go on living our lifestyle.

We're not that indulgent. We don't do that much stuff. But sometimes, you know, there are months when we get around the holidays and stuff where I look at the monthly bill and go, oh, yes, we spent some. That was a good one.

MORGAN: But do you still have to worry about bills?

MCCONAUGHEY: Don't have to worry about them, but we're pretty thrifty. And I think that comes from, you know, value of a dollar whether you've got -- you know, and when you're -- I grew up, raised value of a dollar, you work for what you get. You want to go out Friday night? We'll do the chores of the house.

You know, you want to put gas in your car, you work for the -- work for the money. So I've never really forgotten that. I mean when I first starting making money, when I first made my first six-digits, I was -- my big thing was I went to put super unleaded in my truck for the first time.

And I was -- I have such a buzz about that. And I bought Titleist golf balls. And I was like --

MORGAN: I remember --

(CROSSTALK)

MCCONAUGHEY: Brand new sleeve of three, I was honestly excited about it. So I can still put super unleaded, still do.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: We share actually -- we share a past career in common.

MCCONAUGHEY: What's that?

MORGAN: Well, I spent one summer with my brother shoveling mushroom compost. And you also shoveled compost.

MCCONAUGHEY: In (INAUDIBLE), in Australia.

MORGAN: It wasn't mushroom. What was it?

MCCONAUGHEY: It was sheep dung.

MORGAN: Sheep compost.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: And I think that's something incredibly character build about shoveling (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

What did it teach you? What did it give you, shoveling compost?

MCCONAUGHEY: Well, if you're too high on your horse, as my mom would say, shoveling some sheep dung for 20 days in the middle of nowhere is probably a good thing for you.

MORGAN: When you were sitting there wallowing in sheep dung.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes. MORGAN: Would you ever imagine you'd end up like a bona fide A- movie star? Was the dream there then?

MCCONAUGHEY: I don't think it was. I look back in diaries that I have and I'm reminded that I actually was thinking about a career maybe in storytelling business at that age. But it was so far from the vernacular of even my dreams at that time.

I grew up, you get a job, you work your way up, you put in time, and then you go on up the ladder.

MORGAN: Were you a fan of the movies?

MCCONAUGHEY: No.

MORGAN: Really?

MCCONAUGHEY: I saw two films before I was 17.

MORGAN: What were they?

MCCONAUGHEY: "Orca" and "King Kong."

MORGAN: Really?

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes. We didn't -- we didn't -- movies were not part of our pastime. Television, media really wasn't. You got an hour of television a night. I was watching "Incredible Hulk," unless the Washington Redskins played. On Monday night, I could stay up as late as I wanted to watch them play but other than that --

MORGAN: Because your dad was a football player?

MCCONAUGHEY: He used to play for the Green Bay Packers in 1953.

MORGAN: Yes.

MORGAN: And played under Bear Bryant at Kentucky in college. And so we'd sit around and watched the football. I've got two older brothers. Here in Texas, everyone plays football. But didn't make a career -- you know, like every kid, thought I wanted to be a Washington Redskins running back, you know? Until I kind of quit growing and everyone was a lot faster and a lot bigger.

And then I kept pursuing it. My dad came to me one day at -- as he did with my two older brothers, and he goes, "You really want to play football?" And I was like, "I think so, dad." He's, "Are you sure?" I go, "No, I'm not quite sure." He goes, "Maybe you ought to think of something else. Another sport." I was like, "All right. Why?" He goes, "Well, you know how you can hear it's me coming to your room about 15 seconds before I get there?"

I go, "Yes." He goes, "What do you hear? I go, "I hear these bones popping." He goes, "Yes." And he tells me this story, and this happened on my back, and I hyper extended this on a return punt, and this, he goes -- and that's when -- actually there's a golf picture when he comes to me and he goes, "You ought to think about golf."

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: Because you can play it until you go down.

MORGAN: Which is true.

MCCONAUGHEY: It's true.

MORGAN: You really can golf.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: I mean a lot of golfers are in their 90s.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes. I can do it forever.

MORGAN: And can still beat their age.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: Extraordinary. What was the moment when you thought movies then? If you'd never really watched them --

MCCONAUGHEY: Right.

MORGAN: And it hadn't been a career path, when was the moment you suddenly thought, OK, maybe?

MCCONAUGHEY: There was a day -- and mind you, there were many days leading up to this, but I was becoming restless with the idea of heading towards law school, which is what I thought I was going to do. And I found a book called "The Greatest Salesman in the World," or it found me.

And it was one of those hinge moments where that book found me, I read it, looked up, it was time to go take my exam. I came back home that evening, called mom and dad and said, "I'd like to switch my career path. I'd like to go to film production."

And there that was 10-second pause on the other end of line. I was very nervous about calling mom and dad. Were you going to go law school? That's what we've been talking about for years.

MORGAN: And what was their -- what was their reaction --

MCCONAUGHEY: Great reaction. Great reaction. So I say it, and I've got a lump in my throat. I've got mom and dad both on the phone, on the other end of the line. And they're paying my tuition. So this -- they've got a say in this for sure.

And I said, "Mom, dad, I want to go to -- want to change my course direction, I want to go to film school." Long beat, long beat, long beat. And my dad goes, "Is that what you want to do, son? And I said, "Yes, sir." And he goes, "All right, don't half ass it."

That was it. And then they became so excited about it.

MORGAN: Were you relieved at the reaction?

MCCONAUGHEY: Oh, I was relieved. And I had -- I mean I had their blessing. Not only their blessing, things we talked about became a lot more fun. It's a lot more fun to talk about -- then all of a sudden I'm starting to watch movies. Then pop is talking to me about westerns and he started to talk to me about actors that he liked.

And there was -- I didn't know that we had a creative side of the family. In hindsight since my father has passed away, we found pottery that he had made in the garage. We found paintings. So I was like, there's a little bit of a creative link here.

MORGAN: He was artistic as well as sporty?

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes. Yes.

MORGAN: Take a short break. When we come back, I want to talk to you about "Lincoln Lawyer," your new film. Particularly as you just told me you gave up a career as a lawyer to be an actor.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: I watched your film last night.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: And it was really interesting watching it, because I remember "A Time to Kill," which I loved, as well. I mean you played a few lawyers over the years. What you just said to me about abandoning your legal career.

When I watch you play a lawyer, you absolutely suit the role. I mean, do you think that when you watch it? Does part of you think ever, I would have quite liked to have been a lawyer?

MCCONAUGHEY: No, not that much. A diversion that I can be a lawyer now and I quite prefer. I can be a lawyer for a year, retire, do something else. Go back, do it again. But I am -- I am intrigued and find myself comfortable in those shoes. Especially on the defense side.

And when you have as you do in both those films you're talking about and even in "Amistad," you know, it's very -- it's difficult in real life to have something that you -- just to give and -- you know it's worth fighting for, there's no gray area, it's just go to the death for it. It's great to have that clarity.

MORGAN: How did you find the sort of weird moral dimensions of being a defense lawyer? Well, your character comes under this pressure where sometimes you probably know the guy that you're defending is guilty. MCCONAUGHEY: I think most of the time they know. I think most defense attorneys know, to some extent, their clients are guilty.

MORGAN: Could -- could you deal with that? Could you deal with defending somebody --

MCCONAUGHEY: You know, I -- I don't know if I could deal with that that well. And this is part of the difference of me and now and then. I'm not a cynical man, but I was very idealistic back then. I was like, boy, if I know, if I got a client that I believed and knew was innocent, that is something I -- I wouldn't lose. I know there's just no way.

I mean whatever I'm equipped to do, I would -- I just would go to the end. It's one of those things where you just tap into that extra energy. So, to have that clarity as -- at that age and was that idealistic? Sure, because now the system doesn't really work like that.

The defense attorneys actually know that most of their clients are some -- to some extent, guilty. It's much more of a wheeling and dealing game outside the court. Hardly any of those cases get to court --

MORGAN: All deal making.

MCCONAUGHEY: And if they get to trial -- it's all deal making. You prosecute. You want life? I say, no, no, no, no, no, no -- 25 max. We meet at 40. Next. Who's the next case?

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: You know, in a victory -- 90 -- over 90 percent of the time for the defense attorney is just to ameliorate the sentence down. So I got -- you know, they wanted 20, I got you eight. We win.

And then the prosecution wins, too. You go back, we got eight. Well, eight is good. OK.

MORGAN: I'm going to play a --

MCCONAUGHEY: (INAUDIBLE).

MORGAN: -- I want to play a little clip from "Lincoln Lawyer" now and then come back to you after we've seen this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LINCOLN LAWYER," COURTESY LIONSGATE)

MCCONAUGHEY: If you're wondering how I got in, I'm in real estate. So if I want to get into a friend's house --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we're not friends. You're my client and I'm your lawyer. It's time for you to go, Louis (ph).

MCCONAUGHEY: All right. That's a cute picture of your daughter Haley (ph). She's very pretty. She's got soccer practice tomorrow, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Do you think you're the first client to ever threaten me and my family?

MCCONAUGHEY: All I said was she's pretty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: See, what I liked about it -- don't get me wrong, I like your romantic comedies -- even though I know that you don't like romantic comedies. It's true, isn't it? You don't?

MCCONAUGHEY: They're not the first ones I go see when I leave to go out to the theater.

MORGAN: Do you ever watch romantic comedies?

MCCONAUGHEY: Do I ever?

MORGAN: Yes.

MCCONAUGHEY: Have I ever gone and paid $10 for a romantic --

MORGAN: Yes.

MCCONAUGHEY: -- comedy?

MORGAN: Yes.

MCCONAUGHEY: No.

MORGAN: I knew it.

MCCONAUGHEY: But I've made them.

MORGAN: I knew it.

MCCONAUGHEY: I've made them.

MORGAN: But if you could only make romantic comedies for the rest of your life --

MCCONAUGHEY: Right.

MORGAN: -- or more films like this one --

MCCONAUGHEY: If it had to be one or the other?

MORGAN: Yes.

MCCONAUGHEY: Well, I'll tell you right now, obviously, I'm more drawn to like these dramas, "Lincoln Lawyer." I followed this up with two other, two other comedies, but they're dramas as well. So that's where I'm naturally drawn to right now.

I don't know, does it have to do that I'm in my 40s? Maybe. It's something like -- I did a bunch of romantic comedies, I was like, OK, that's enough of those for now. I wasn't really getting turned on by them.

So, I wanted to go and do something like this. I had to chase -- I didn't have to really chase it down, but I had to, you know, to get a film like this, sure, I'd take a pay cut from what I got in a romantic comedy, you know? Those aren't at the top of the list for guys that go, hey, we want you back in a drama.

Now, if it works and people see it -- and a lot of people are liking it so far. They're linking it back to work I did 15 years ago in "A Time to Kill," which they didn't forget about or anything. And I just -- this was highly enjoyable.

Talk about -- there's -- almost you can't -- it's -- there was no time not to focus on this role and this film. It was very important to me every day.

MORGAN: I like the way it's shot. I like the way it --

MCCONAUGHEY: You like that?

MORGAN: -- it's very pacey.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: And it's got an edgy feel to it. And yet your character is not without comedy, but the comedy is very organic. It's not thrust down your throat. But it's a great -- it's a great role.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: You know, I've heard people say they think it's -- it's your best role since "Time to Kill." I know what they mean, because you can excel in a role like this as an actor --

MCCONAUGHEY: Right.

MORGAN: -- more than you can in any romantic comedy.

MCCONAUGHEY: There's a lot -- good word, good -- good way to put it. There was a lot of room to excel. That's what I mean by those blows that you can -- you can get -- there's no depth to how mad you want to get. There's no depth to how sad you want to get. There's no depth -- no -- no limit to how happy you want to get.

MORGAN: Yes.

MCCONAUGHEY: How -- the victory can -- is as big as you want it to be. The pain can hurt as much as you want it to feel. The leverage between the -- the ceiling and the floor of emotion was kind of up to -- up to me. It could go as deep or high as I wanted. It was that kind of role.

MORGAN: We're going to take another short break. When we come back, I want to plunge you back into the world of romantic comedy and ask you about the terrible ordeal of having to do love scenes with a string of the most beautiful women in Hollywood.

MCCONAUGHEY: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: Let's come right back with that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with my guest, Matthew McConaughey.

In the movie, "Lincoln Lawyer," you have a -- a pretty sexy scene with Marisa Tomei, which reminded me how many sexy Hollywood women I've actually seen you frolicking with over the years -- Sandra Bullock, Penelope Cruz, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker. I mean, it's like a non-stop procession.

MCCONAUGHEY: Most of those are those romantic comedies you like.

MORGAN: I know. But you are one Jammy Git, aren't you?

MCCONAUGHEY: One what?

MORGAN: Jammy Git.

MCCONAUGHEY: Jami --

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I mean the --

MCCONAUGHEY: -- England -- England, what does that mean?

MORGAN: It's an English euphemism for very lucky man.

MCCONAUGHEY: Oh, yes.

MORGAN: I had the pleasure of meeting not just yourself at the Oscars' "Vanity Fair" party, but also your lovely lady, Camila, who prompted me to then Tweet that she was the most beautiful woman at the Oscars.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: I mean you struck gold, didn't you?

MCCONAUGHEY: I would agree with you. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. She's -- she's dynamite.

MORGAN: And they -- I mean they are very exotic people?

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: I've been to Brazil. I went to Rio for a few weeks.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: And, you know, they're -- they're incredibly glamorous, beautiful, vibrant --

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: -- energetic people.

MCCONAUGHEY: Vibrant -- .

MORGAN: About as far removed, I would argue, in a nice way, from the kind of traditional L.A. set. Is that what attracted you to her?

MCCONAUGHEY: I mean there's a -- you know, I spoke of her grace earlier. But -- but she's a -- our main thing, she -- I was able to show her who I am and who I was pretty early. And she was completely honest about who she was. And there was no -- no, zero percent of a feeling on either side of us of -- oh, I need to act a little more like this to impress them. Uh-uh.

It was straight, honest, here's who I am, here's who you are -- oh, I can tell you would do just fine in life without me, and vice versa, you know? And that sort of mutually is where we came together and there was a very heavy attraction and there still is. But there was a -- I can be myself. Actually, if I was anybody other than myself, that's when I'd get in trouble with her, still, to this day.

And that -- you know, that doesn't happen all the time with most everybody. So --

MORGAN: Your parents, an extraordinary thing.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: They got divorced from each other twice --

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: -- and they remarried --

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: -- twice. And they were married three times to each other.

MCCONAUGHEY: They were married three times to each other. And no --

MORGAN: I've never heard that before.

MCCONAUGHEY: -- no one else.

MORGAN: What was going on there?

MCCONAUGHEY: I mean, that's a great --

MORGAN: That's a classic --

MCCONAUGHEY: -- can't live with --

MORGAN: -- you can't live with him --

MCCONAUGHEY: -- you can't live without you.

MORGAN: Right.

MCCONAUGHEY: I hate to see you leave, but I love to watch you go. They were -- they were hot and wild and loved each other hard. And that's -- basically, you could say that about our whole family. It's a -- it's a play hard, work hard, love hard family.

MORGAN: Did their inability to stay married for very long, has that affected your --

MCCONAUGHEY: Right.

MORGAN: -- apparent decision --

MCCONAUGHEY: Right.

MORGAN: -- to not want to get married?

MCCONAUGHEY: I don't think so. I mean, you know, somebody out there who's studied Freud could go back and say, oh, but it did. I really don't think so.

MORGAN: Are you against marriage?

MCCONAUGHEY: No. I'm for marriage.

MORGAN: Do you think you will get married?

MCCONAUGHEY: I don't know.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But if I was with Camila, I would want her tied up pretty quickly.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes. Yes.

MORGAN: Legally.

MCCONAUGHEY: Legally tied up.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: You just said you want her tied up quickly, legally.

MORGAN: Tied up in any way. MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: Not particularly legally.

MCCONAUGHEY: Maybe one day, but -- but not so far. It -- you know, it doesn't make me any less committed. It doesn't make me love her any less.

MORGAN: And how's fatherhood?

MCCONAUGHEY: Fatherhood is a --

MORGAN: Is it --

MCCONAUGHEY: -- a hoot, man.

MORGAN: -- as good as you thought and hoped it would be?

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes. I had a good idea of fatherhood. And one thing -- I'll say this. One thing, if you asked me at 8 years old, I don't know if I could have answered this honestly then, but I think back about it and it's true. The one thing I always knew that I wanted in life was to have a family.

And it's a hoot, man. It's a -- it's a ball. It's good hard work. It's -- it's a -- it's the epic that I'm working on.

MORGAN: You talked about the --

MCCONAUGHEY: I make movies all the time.

MORGAN: -- the need to recalibrate your life --

MCCONAUGHEY: Right.

MORGAN: -- when you had kids, so that they wouldn't end your life --

MCCONAUGHEY: No, no.

MORGAN: -- or change it dramatically. You would recalibrate --

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: -- to embrace fatherhood.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes. Well, that's what naturally happened. Look, I'm not a -- I'm not a right angle guy anyway. I'm not a stop and restart. It was less of a change in my function and being than everyone says. Oh, my God, you had kids. It's like -- ohhh.

We didn't hit the brakes on anything. God bless Camila, thank you very much. That helps a lot. I can't -- I can't say this independently without, you know, the work that a great mother does.

But it's just -- you know, you start believing -- yes, do you live less for me and now it's all for we? Sure.

Do you have to get a return ticket now? Yes, you do. One way tickets don't count. You've got to get back and we've got to -- does it take longer to go someplace and longer to pack up and leave? Yes.

Everywhere I go, things I do, I'm not really doing anything any differently. But even when I leave the house and the kids aren't physically with me, I understand quite well that I am the courier. I am the shepherd, the father that has those kids.

And in all of my actions, they're right here. Both of them, you know, Levi is one hip and Vida is on the other. And so, I'm responsible, you know, for them.

MORGAN: We're going to take another break now. When we come back, I want to talk about the role that started it all.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: We're back with my guest, Matthew McConaughey.

How much of your life is defined by "Dazed and Confused?"

MCCONAUGHEY: What a great movie and a great character, man. What a great American.

MORGAN: I'll tell you what -- let's play a clip from "Dazed and Confused".

MCCONAUGHEY: Check this out. Yes.

MORGAN: Let's remind ourselves --

MCCONAUGHEY: Always a good time.

MORGAN: -- of the glory. There's never a bad time for this.

MCCONAUGHEY: No.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "DAZED AND CONFUSED")

MCCONAUGHEY: That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: Waterson. What a great American.

MORGAN: It's like even now, you look back with affection, don't you?

MCCONAUGHEY: Oh, yes. That was my first job and I could not have been handed a more fortunate working experience. I didn't know what I was doing, but I guess I knew what I was doing. But I -- I was waiting tables, making 50 bucks a night, and then I'm in the right bar at the right time, meet this guy who's in town producing the film and casting. At 4:00 a.m. that night, we get kicked out of the bar. At 4:30, he goes, you ever done any acting before? And I said, man I was in this Miller Lite commercial, you know --

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: -- like for that long. I didn't say anything.

He was like, you might be right for this role in this movie, come to this address. And I go down there and I pick it up, 9:30 that morning, take it away. It's got a -- got a few lines, a few scenes. And I can go away for a couple of weeks and I work on it with my buddy, Rob Bindler, who's that guy who got me -- who had the courage to go into film school, right?

We got work on it and I come back and I go read. I walk in -- oh, you've love this. I walk in.

This is a job interview, right? Remember where I came from? So, I -- I'm tucked in, buttoned up, got my belt buckled, got my, you know, shades, everything.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: Not the character, but this is me for -- it's not because I saw the character as this, but it's me on a job interview, how I was raised to go to a job interview.

So I go in there. And Rick goes, this -- this is not you. You're not this guy. I go, no, but I know this dude. And he goes, OK, show it.

So, then I'm sitting there, I did all my handshakes. And all of a sudden, I went and kind of settled down into it and started going. And we read a couple of lines. And he said, great, and I got the role. And then he -- he kept inviting me back to the set. There was a lot of guys on there that -- we became pretty close through the making of that film. And I only worked for three weeks.

But the cool thing was they were in my town. I was in Austin, Texas. So, they were shooting. So I knew all the ropes. And we became great friends and a lot of us are still really good friends today.

And Richard Linklater, I've worked with that guy three times now.

MORGAN: What it -- what it also spawned was lots of impressions, led by --

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes, yes.

MORGAN: -- Matt Damon on "Letterman" --

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: -- which we're just going to remind you of.

MCCONAUGHEY: Oh, please.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN," COURTESY CBS)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: You first noticed he never had his shirt on, right?

MATT DAMON, ACTOR: Yes. And I -- I don't know, I just -- and I used to hang out with him where we were, you know, broke actors and so, I don't -- I don't -- I don't know, man. But I -- you know, but what --

LETTERMAN: Take your time.

DAMON: -- what --

LETTERMAN: Don't worry.

DAMON: -- what I would say was I would go in in the morning, you know, every morning on the -- on the set of "Ocean's Thirteen" and to Steven Soderbergh. And I'd say, Mr. Soderbergh, today's scene, I think, would be a good opportunity for me to take my shirt off.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONAUGHEY: That's pretty good.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: It's pretty good.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: He did a good job on that.

MORGAN: He did do a good job.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes, it sounds a lot like me.

MORGAN: And he's a pretty well-adjusted guy, Matt Damon.

MCCONAUGHEY: I think so.

MORGAN: I interview him a couple of weeks ago.

MCCONAUGHEY: I don't know him that well. I've sent -- and, Matt, if you're out there, you know I sent you some j.k. livin t- shirts with notes on them -- signs saying "obviously, I don't need these." And I never got --

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: -- I never got a thank you from you.

MORGAN: Really?

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes. He's out there somewhere.

MORGAN: I'll remind him.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: I want to take another break.

And when we come back, I want to talk to you about this other strange passion of yours, the bongos.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: All right, we want to play another clip now from "Lincoln Lawyer," your new movie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LINCOLN LAWYER," COURTESY LIONSGATE)

MCCONAUGHEY: What did Martina say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enough. Enough for me to know I've got -- I've got to find another way.

MCCONAUGHEY: What you've got to do is find a way to put Roulee (ph) in Rentaria's apartment the night she was murdered, that's what you've --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- a way to make it right, Frank. You've got to make it right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he can't bring it to the cops, because he's your client. And you can't take it to the D.A., because you'd lose your license.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any evidence we found would be inadmissible, attorney-client privilege. It would ruin any case they could ever have against him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got one client in jail for what your other client did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I mean, the movie is fascinating about moral dilemmas.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes. MORGAN: That's a great moment later when you go and confront this -- you don't just go and confront him, you go and see a guy who went to prison and protested his innocence to you, as a lawyer --

MCCONAUGHEY: Who I put in prison.

MORGAN: Yes.

MCCONAUGHEY: And the defense did not get him off, didn't only allow --

MORGAN: We don't --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: -- we don't believe it.

MCCONAUGHEY: I didn't believe it, right.

MORGAN: Once you realized a terrible miscarriage has happened --

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: -- you try to then go back and do the right thing and he didn't want to know.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: And it made me think about doing the right thing.

Your charity, Just Keep Living, is a -- it's a very inspiring one, because it's actually very simple.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yes.

MORGAN: It's basically about getting people to just lead better, healthier lives.

MCCONAUGHEY: Exactly. Inside and out, it's an after school curriculum that we have. And right now, four schools, three here in LA, one in Texas. We're going to be opening up three more in Texas. We're going to open another one in New Orleans shortly.

After school voluntary program, high school kids get to come -- a safe place to come after school, two days a week. They exercise. They break a sweat. They sit around and they learn about nutrition on a budget, because these are Title I schools, where they're lower income schools and families.

And they have a big gratitude circle at the end to say something you're thankful for, which is something I brought from my own experience that we did in our house.

MORGAN: I want to play a little clip and then come back to you.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MORGAN: That is the secret reggae side of Matthew McConaughey.

MCCONAUGHEY: Ah.

MORGAN: And your bongos.

You love these things, don't you?

MCCONAUGHEY: I like drums. And these -- I've got a -- I've got so many -- a collection of different skins. I've got congas, bongos, all kinds of drums.

MORGAN: And this guy is the one you -- you love to play with, right? Mishka?

MCCONAUGHEY: Well, Mishka, he's with my record level -- label, Just Keep Livin Records. And he's a reggae artist. And he -- I first heard his music at the turn of the millennium when we were in Jamaica.

And I went looking for him for four years, finally found him. He showed up at The House of Blues.

And he's now with my Just Keep Livin Records label. And we've made three albums now. He's out in Florida right now. He's touring with the guy you saw in that video, Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown are doing big stadium tours.

So, the night before those shows, Mishka is playing like the kick-off party, which is -- could be really good for him. And Kenny became a fan, Kenny Chesney did. I turned him onto Mishka and he really became a fan.

MORGAN: You've achieved many personal ambitions. You found the woman, perhaps, you'd been looking for all that time. You've got the children that you wanted.

What's the professional goal now for you?

You've not won an Oscar yet. Is that something that you aspire to or is there something else that's more significant to you?

MCCONAUGHEY: Work-wise, I mean, that would be -- that would be an honor. That would be great to do some work that was recognized by the Academy and, you know, get that statute and have my peers say, great work, we think that was really incredible work. That would be -- that would be great.

You know, right now, I just -- I keep -- I want to make some more stories, things that really, really turn me on, things that I feel challenged by, things that I'm going, ooh, that's kind of -- I'm kind of anxious about that. I'm not scared of it, but I'm going whoooo!

MORGAN: If I could offer you an Oscar --

MCCONAUGHEY: Right.

MORGAN: -- next year --

MCCONAUGHEY: Right.

MORGAN: -- guaranteed, nailed down, or a number one record by Mishka with you, Matthew McConaughey, on bongos, which one do you take?

MCCONAUGHEY: How about in that Oscar movie?

MORGAN: You play the bongos?

MCCONAUGHEY: We do the soundtrack.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: How about that?

MORGAN: How about this? Why don't you sign the bongos --

MCCONAUGHEY: That's great. That's --

MORGAN: And we're going to auction them on CharityFolks.com.

MCCONAUGHEY: Perfect.

MORGAN: And all the proceeds will go to your Just Livin brand.

MCCONAUGHEY: Just Keep Livin Foundation. And this will -- all this money will go to helping pay the teachers that run these after school classes. We've got equipment, water, things like that.

But, yes, it costs us about 30 grand a semester to run one of these things. And it's working out. Attendance is growing. Parents are coming forward, saying, we're getting along with our kids better, grades are going up.

MORGAN: And even though you don't want to put yourself through any kind of epitaph, if I held you down and forced you to, what would you like on the Matthew McConaughey tombstone?

MCCONAUGHEY: Jeez --

MORGAN: A one -- a one liner.

MCCONAUGHEY: What -- who's that guy that comes to you and talks about the wills and --

(LAUGHTER)

MCCONAUGHEY: -- think about I mean if I'm gone, what do I -- who would I want to give it to?

MORGAN: How do you want to be remembered?

Here lies Matthew McConaughey, he --

MCCONAUGHEY: He did his best. He enjoyed doing what he did. G- O-D -- hope I get in.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Thank you very much.

MCCONAUGHEY: All right.

MORGAN: That was a great interview. I really enjoyed it.

MCCONAUGHEY: I did, too.

MORGAN: That's all for us tonight and Matthew and his bongos.

And here's "A.C. 360".