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Entertainment & Arts

Matthew McConaughey to tackle new role as college professor

Matthew McConaughey, College Professor
Actor Matthew McConaughey celebrates after Texas defeated Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 5, 2009. The University of Texas announced Thursday that McConaughey is teaching a filmmaking course at the school.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Matthew McConaughey has proven himself adept at portraying any number of roles. Southern lawyer? Check. Southern police officer? Check. Southern rodeo cowboy? Absolutely. 

But does he have what it takes to tackle his most challenging role to date: (Southern) professor? 

The University of Texas at Austin announced Thursday that the Oscar-winning alumnus would be returning, if only in spirit, to his alma mater to teach a filmmaking class.

Advanced Producing: Anatomy of a Motion Picture will be headed by Scott Rice, with assists from McConaughey and “Hunger Games” director Gary Ross. Ross and McConaughey recently collaborated on “Free State of Jones,” the story of a medic in the Confederate Army who is labeled a deserter and starts a rebellion uniting farmers and slaves.

“Free State of Jones” plays a fundamental role in the class, as Ross and McConaughey filmed “behind the scenes” footage to be used as a window into what producing a major Hollywood film requires and the decisions that go into what eventually becomes the final product. 

When the class begins, the students have the script, the novel and a film-production handbook, Lauren Phillips, public affairs representative for the Moody College of Communications at UT told The Times on Friday.

“They look at the film from every angle and learn why the producers make the choices they make,” Phillips said.

Advanced Producing, with Ross and McConaughey’s involvement, originally took place in fall 2015 while “Free State of Jones” was in active production and required students to sign a nondisclosure agreement to participate, in order to preserve the confidentiality of the film, which debuted in theaters June 24, 2016.

Students in the fall 2015 Advanced Production class hold up their
Students in the fall 2015 Advanced Production class hold up their "Free State of Jones" scripts. (University of Texas - Austin)

McConaughey graduated from UT-Austin in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in radio-television-film and went on to build a highly successful career in Hollywood, including an Oscar win for “Dallas Buyer’s Club” in 2014. The actor still regularly visits campus to attend Longhorns football games.

For fans looking to surreptitiously enroll in the class for McConaughey exposure, they’re out of luck.

“It’s an upper-level class, and it’s restricted to 30 people. They want to make sure graduates are prepared as they head out into film world,” Phillips explained.

libby.hill@latimes.com

Twitter: @midwestspitfire

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