Interest was high in what Matthew McConaughey would choose as his next project following his one-two punch of Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective (ie. peak McConaissance). Refreshingly, the actor once again opted to do something a bit different, signing on to lead director Gus Van Sant’s existential drama The Sea of Trees. The first Sea of Trees image has now landed online, giving us our first look at McConaughey and Ken Watanabe in the context of the film, which follows a man who enters the “Suicidal Forest” in Mount Fuji with the intention of taking his own life. When he is interrupted by a Japanese man who is having second thoughts about his own suicide, the two begin a journey of reflection and survival. Sounds about right for the guy who brought Rust Cohle to life in such vivid detail.
Hit the jump to take a look at the first Sea of Trees image and to see what McConaughey had to say about working with Van Sant and the poetic nature of the film. The Sea of Trees also stars Naomi Watts and is currently filming in Massachusetts before moving on to Japan.
Speaking with EW, McConaughey had high praise for his director:
“Gus is a wonderful voyeur and a really gentle soul of a man. He’s got the right sensibility for a film like this. He listens and considers any ideas that I throw at him and I undeniably trust the direction he gives me. He’s a lot of fun to create with.”
The actor also added that the film doesn’t shy away from its existential leanings, saying he hopes it will become a catalyst for audience conversation:
“Everyone is going to leave the theater and have their own walk and talk through the parking lot to muse about its meanings, what it was about and what it wasn’t, what was real and what was a dream.”
Take a look at the image below, via the film’s production company BLOOM. The picture will likely be released sometime next year.