Set among the pines and small-town charm of East Texas, “Bernie” is another in a long line of collaborations between director Richard Linklater and actor Matthew McConaughey, an alliance that stretches back to “Dazed and Confused” nearly 20 years ago. In “Bernie,” McConaughey plays the crusading lawman out to put Jack Black’s Bernie Tiede in bars for the killing of his friend and associate Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) — even though the town rallies behind Bernie far more than they feel sympathy for the late Mrs. Nugent. Full of dark comedy and Texan plain-spoken charm, “Bernie” is a winning-but-weird look at justice and repentance. We spoke with Linklater and McConaughey at SXSW in March about “Bernie,” their long-time collaborations, and being back in Austin.
MSN Movies: How much of the fun of doing “Bernie” was doing something so … Texas-ish, for lack of a less clumsy adjective?
Richard Linklater: Great. Huge appeal for me, from the time I read the article, it was the Texas movie I wanted to make. My whole life, growing up in East Texas, I always had stories in my head from the region. I knew it to be a really unique spot that no one really knows about outside of there. People think of Texas and don’t really differentiate the parts of Texas. It’s a big state. So I’ve always kind of wanted to make that distinction.