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The Meet New Dirk Pitt!
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Reviewed on 2005-03-30
Matthew McConaughey stopped in Kansas City to talk about his new movie "Sahara", the big Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt adventure film from Paramount Pictures.

A group of Kansas City critics gathered at Screenland to board a charter bus to meet Matthew in Platte City at a special RV Park where his customized Airstream was parked.

Sahara stars Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, and Penelope Cruz make an awesome threesome in this exciting film.

Soon after our arrival, the press gathered around an oversized picnic table and Matthew came out greeted everyone and was very friendly and enthusiastic. Matthew advised how he approached Paramount with his idea for an unusual road trip promotional tour across the country with his production partner and good friend Gus Gustawes. Paramount said do it and so the road trip progressed from Florida stopping in Kansas City and eventually winding to California for a grand finale. Along the way they stopped at 4 or 5 military bases, colleges and several truck stops. Paramount supplied promotion hats and T-shirts to give out. He said people have been real friendly across the nation.

This project started 7 years ago when they approached writer Clive Cussler about the project. Matthew wanted to play his hero Dirk Pitt and knew the key was to find the right director. They turned to Breck Eisner. We knew the film had to have tone, action, and adventure with real humor. There also needed to be good chemistry among the 3 stars, Dirk Pitt, Al Giordino, and Dr. Eva Rohas. Steve Zahn and Penelope Cruz turned out to be the perfect pair to fill these famous shoes. Matthew described Dirk Pitt as the kind of guy who could be wrestling alligators on a Saturday morning and then wear a tux to dance with the queen at a ball on Saturday night. He's a senator's son, a scientist, a polished, blue ribbon guy but at the same time, he's a treasure-hunting pirate, a rascally rogue, a barroom brawler, and a tequila drinking scoundrel. But he's always a gentleman. Al and Steve begin a journey that starts with the riddle of a missing Civil War-era Ironclad battleship, that ends up in the world's largest desert.

Matthew explained some of the problems they had shooting in the desert with sudden sand storms, finicky camels and other challenges. He did most of his own stunts some that were very dangerous. I commented on the lack of safety nets during a fight scene on top of a tower building involving a helicopter. Matthew confirmed there were no nets but fortunately all went well.

After answering all our questions, Matthew said a sequel would depend on the success of this first film. Sometimes they know within 24 hours after the release, April 8th. What a treat it was to meet this great actor who was so gracious to our group of critics who met him in his favorite outdoor environment. Thanks Matthew!

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