First Look At McConaughey's Mud

And exclusive on-set quotes

Matthew McConaughey's on a roll these days. After starting the year with the sleeper hit The Lincoln Lawyer and soon to follow it with the upcoming black-comic double whammy of Richard Linklater's Bernie and William Friedkin's Killer Joe, he's just wrapped Steven Soderbergh's stripper romp Magic Mike and is about to do the same on Mud by Jeff Nichols, director of the acclaimed Take Shelter, which hits UK cinemas next week.

As you can see from this exclusive image (click to enlarge), Mud is a slight change from the usual McConaughey vehicle: as the title character, he plays an escaped convict who befriends a young boy (Tree Of Life's Tye Sheridan) and encourages him and his friend to become go-betweens in his attempt to dodge bounty hunters and reconnect with his on-off girlfriend (Reese Witherspoon).

“The script's really, really good,” the bronzed actor told Empire on set. “The writing is very unique, Jeff has a great Southern voice and he writes amazing dialogue – stuff you look at and go, 'Well, I don't wanna change that.' Because it's such a particular voice, especially for my character. I guess it's a fairytale about love, in terms of what this boy finds out about love through Mud. And you don't see that many scripts that are good, sorta Stand By Me, summer-of-love fairytales like that.”

Covered in tattoos, with matted hair, torn jeans and a filthy yellow shirt, Mud is far from the urbane romcom characters McConaughey has played in previous years. “Mud's a dreamer,” he explains. “He's an aristocrat of the heart. He's committed to this woman, and he's been committed to her since she was ten years old. They've gotten together probably 50 times and she's run off 50 times. He's like an old Labrador: waitin'. He knows that one day, hopefully, she'll come around to him. He loves her unconditionally and forever. And if this events in this story didn't happen, it would go on for another 40 years. He'd still be at her door, no matter how many times she hauled ass.”

Also starring Sam Shepard and Take Shelter's Michael Shannon, Mud is due out in 2013.