The actor talks about directing the "Playing the Part" music video for his country singer pal

By Kay West
October 22, 2010 08:00 AM
Credit: Mercury Nashville

When Jamey Johnson needed a director for the video of his new single, “Playing the Part,” he called one of his biggest fans: Matthew McConaughey.

PEOPLE has a first look at behind-the scenes footage of the video shoot – including interviews with the musician and his actor pal.

“He called a couple months ago and said, ‘Matthew I got a new album coming out and a single, and I want you to direct the video,’ ” says McConaughey, who first hit it off with Johnson when they met in Las Vegas during the 2009 ACM Awards. “I said ‘I’m in.’ ”

Johnson – who performed at McConaughey’s 40th birthday party – sent his pal a copy of “Playing the Part,” one of two L.A.-inspired songs skewering stardom that he wrote for his album, The Guitar Song.

“I called him up at 3 in the morning with a wild-ass idea,” says McConaughey. “I talked about it, then said, ‘And then the gorilla’s drinkin’ Mad Dog!’ And all I heard was him laughing.”

Johnson’s deadpan response: “Why wouldn’t you want to do that?”

The cast of the wild video includes a 250-lb. stripper, actors in super-hero costumes, muscled bodyguards and a dancing gorilla.

“Playing the Part” is the first music video directed by McConaughey, who actually wore the gorilla suit while shooting some scenes. The director’s cut of the video debuts on VEVO Friday.

Johnson will perform on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday, Oct. 26.