Matt Lauer started the segment by saying "here's some good news, Matthew McConaughey is back on the big screen. He's playing a LA criminal defense attorney who works from the backseat of his car. Literally. The Lincoln Lawyer. Things get tricky for him when a new client's attempted murder charge causes him to question some work he's done in the past."
A clip of the movie was shown on the screen to the Today audience. After the clip Lauer greeted McConbaughey and asked "you like lawyers don't you?" McConaughey, whose curls were carefully arranged brushed up and off his hairline said" I do."
Lauer said" I was reading, you actually thought about going into law, maybe being a defense lawyer during your college days?"
McConaughey said "that's what I thought I was going to do. Yeah (when) I was growing up I loved to debate and I always ended up on the defense. So my parents were like, my dad was like, 'you need to go be a lawyer to defend me if I get in trouble.' And then I just took it on from there. And so I went to college and that's where I was heading."
Lincoln Lawyer - A Relationship Between A Lawyer And A Guilty Client
Lauer stated "This movie is really about this relationship you develop with this client. This client looks like a dream client right off the bat. He's got cash, he can pay the big fee." McConaughey agrees "he's got cash". Lauer continues "which is nice for defense attorney but sooner or later the initial enthusiasm on your part turns into trepidation."
McConaughey, whose medium length natural curls always look healthy and very well-groomed said "well, and it even goes beyond that. I mean, the story's about what if a defense attorney...if you found out that you put in innocent man in jail four years ago. A man who did not commit a crime. Now present day defending someone who you know is guilty of the crime, but you're defending him. Not only guilty of that crime, but also guilty of the crime four years ago of a man you wrongly put in jail. Now that, is quite a quandary. And how the system works."
Lauer said "and that's important because any legal theory thriller, any movie when it comes right down to it, it's great you have one specific storyline. But I think back 15 years to the movie 'A Time To Kill' and really that was the story of of a black man in the Deep South who is on trial for murder. Murdering the two guys who raped his daughter. So the question becomes in that movie could a black man in racially charged times get a fair trial?"
Lauer continued "What's the question we're forced to ask in this movie?"
The Legal System And How It Works
McConaughey replied "this is more about the system and how it works and how you need to argue how it doesn't work and how you have to work the system. I mean, everyone of these cases are dealt with outside of the court now. The prosecution basically overcharges. The defense attorney comes forward. And if he can lessen that charge his client may still go to jail. But, if he can lessen that charge, it's still a victory for the defense."
The actor continued "Most of the clients that defense attorneys are defending are not actually innocent. Everyone's got something in their closet, to some extent guilty for the crime. But this is how the system works. And the situation you just saw in the clip. Common sense would say if you find out that you're defending a guilty man, go forward and say he's guilty."
He explained "But you can't do that. Not only can you not do that, but you (could) lose your license, the evidence you came forward with would be inadmissible in court. It's a very tricky situation." Lauer agreed "It forces us all to ask a lot of questions."
He changed the topic somewhat and said "I don't often share the little moments that a guest and I have right before the segment, but you said something interesting to me a second ago. I said 'hey you look healthy, you look great'. You said 'you're taking on the role of promoting a movie the same way you take on the role of shooting a movie.'"
Lauer said" you're kind of doing it like you're in training." The actor agreed" yeah it's a six-week run. And even if I have three or four days in between press days I'm treating it like I'm on a movie. Like I'm working, I go through my daily regiment, get a good night sleep." The Today show host asked "how is that different than you used to handle it?"
Having A Family Makes Promoting A Film Easier
The actor said "well if I had 72 hours off I might say 'Hey, I'm got some travel time. Now I can go play'. McConaughey continued "now, I guess this is the first one I've done also with children. And a family. And my Lady Camilla (Alves) is traveling with me. I've never done that before. She's traveling with me on the whole tour. So that makes it also easier. And a little bit easier to stay at home."
Matthew smiled and said" I do, I do it gives you a lot more to live for you know, you know that. And one thing that makes me happy and always has is having something to look forward to and having children. That's just sort of a given. The Universal Truth, now you've got something to look forward to every single day."
Lauer said "and isn't it funny how it changes the topic of conversation with you and other people who have children. That's all you want to talk about. That's great." McConaughey agreed and smiled. "yeah, yeah". He obviously loves chatting about his family.
The Lincoln Lawyer hits theaters on March 18th.
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