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Matthew McConaughey: ‘Of Course I Still Play the Congas Naked’

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Matthew McConaughey in GQ (Sebastian Kim / GQ)

Matthew McConaughey has had a pretty good 2013, so it's no surprise that the "Dallas Buyers Club" star nabbed one of GQ's coveted Men of the Year covers.

But, just because the 44-year-old actor is now a serious Oscar contender doesn't mean he has forgotten his laid-back, hippie roots.

[Related: Justin Timberlake Lands GQ's Men of the Year Cover, Fires Back at Haters]

"Of course I still play the congas naked," he confesses. "I just close the windows."

For those who may have forgotten (although how could you?), McConaughey was arrested in 1999 in Austin, Texas, and charged with possession of marijuana after neighbors called to complain about loud music coming from his house (cops found him dancing around naked and playing bongo drums).

While he still likes to have a good time, Matthew — who has three kids with wife Camila Alves — explains to GQ that he understands people's previous conceptions of him when he wasn't exactly being taken seriously in Hollywood.

"Now I get it," he says. "Outdoors, shirtless on the beach, does a lot of rom-coms, girlfriend loves him, good-looking. It's like he rolls out of bed and shows up and makes it look easy."

Following one romantic comedy — "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" to be exact — the then 39-year-old decided to take a brief hiatus from acting.

"I was enjoying myself," he recalls. "My relationship with acting was fine. But like in any relationship you need to shake things up. It didn't mean what we'd been doing was less than. I just wanted a change. Like, 'Let's throw a spark into this.'"

[Related: Go Behind-the-Scenes with Matthew and GQ]

McConaughey stepped back into the spotlight — in a leather thong — in 2012 with an unforgettable supporting role in "Magic Mike."

"I got much more selfish," he notes. "I'm a fan of the word selfish. Self. Ish. When I say I have gotten a lot more self-ish, I mean I am less concerned with what people think of me. I'm not worried about how I'm perceived. Selfish has always gotten a bad rap. You should do for you. I wanted new experiences."

Clearly, being selfish is working for him.

What followed were leads in "Mud" and "Dallas Buyers Club," roles in Martin Scorsese's "Wolf of Wall Street" (out next month) and Christopher Nolan's top-secret flick "Interstellar" (filming now), plus Matthew is starring in HBO's highly anticipated TV show "True Detective."

"Matthew is a divisive figure in Hollywood," explains his "True Detective" co-star Woody Harrelson. "I have found myself defending him to people who don't really know him, who for some reason feel very antagonistically toward him. He's a good guy, he's great-looking, has a perfect body, his career's through the roof.

"People resented that, and the way they justified it is, 'He has never done a movie of substance,'" Harrelson laughs. "They can't say that anymore."

GQ's 18th Annual Men of the Year issue also features covers with Justin Timberlake, Will Ferrell, Kendrick Lamar, and James Gandolfini. Pick up a copy when it hits newsstands on November 19.

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