One’s a boisterous Bronx native who spends spare time declaiming Shakespeare; the other’s a laid-back Texan who’d rather be grilling T-bones outside his Airstream trailer. Still, Al Pacino, 65, and Matthew McConaughey, 35, managed to mesh on the set of Two for the Money, a thriller starring Pacino as a sports-betting consultant and McConaughey as his ex-jock protégé. They sat down with PEOPLE correspondent Alexis Chiu to discuss a few common passions.
You two seem different in every possible way. Am I wrong?
PACINO: We look so alike that you would think we’re very similar.
McCONAUGHEY: [laughing] They would go to the wrong trailer to pick one of us up every time.
PACINO: You know what it is? What you really latch onto are similarities. I think there’s a lot Matthew and I relate to together.
PACINO: The big one is the big A. We’re actors. Actors speak a certain language to each other. We could be anything; we could be botanists and then that’s our common language.
McCONAUGHEY: It’s not that you think alike; it’s that you have a similar relationship to how you see things, or how you listen. And we have a similar sense of humor.
PACINO: I really like the idea of finding out about things from someone who does things that are different than you. You just let them riff.
So what did you learn from Matthew?
PACINO: I was always learning something about football from Matthew. And we were filming at the height of the baseball season. We’d go into some of the subtleties and nuances of baseball. Matthew’s an expert and he understands it on a certain level. I could appreciate that.
What was it like acting together?
McCONAUGHEY: We were out there dancing every day. We were juking and jiving.
PACINO: I was impressed with the way he devoted his whole thing to this role. To the point where he went and lived in a camper [McConaughey bunked in his Airstream on location in Vancouver]. I think that sort of dedication shows up in his performance. I would sometimes ask him, “Let’s go out tonight.” And he wouldn’t. It was very impressive. And lonely. I’d be having dinner by myself.
I’ve heard Matthew grilled up a storm at that trailer. Were you ever a guest at his Airstream?
PACINO: He actually cooked for me. [to McConaughey] Remember you handed me that rice thing you cooked? I didn’t just say I ate it; I ate it. It was a southern thing.
McCONAUGHEY: Oh yeah….Basmati rice? Or was it a gumbo?
PACINO: It was a year ago. We’re trying to remember. You remember the rhythm of a person.
McCONAUGHEY: I keep [comparing acting to] dancing. There were a whole lotta new moves.
Did you ever step on his toes? Was he the veteran dancer and you the new partner?
PACINO: That word! I’m always the veteran these days. I’m just the oldest person in the world, actually, everywhere I go.
McCONAUGHEY: [interrupting] Don’t fall for it! Don’t fall for it!
Okay, guys, “veteran” was not meant as a derogatory term.
McCONAUGHEY: [laughing and pointing at People correspondent] He’s got you!