January 17, 2017 12:15 PM

As a father of two sons and a daughter, Matthew McConaughey has seen just how different they can be from each other.

“You see that females are smarter quicker,” the Oscar-winning star — who shares daughter Vida, 7, and sons Livingston, 4, and Levi, 8½, with wife Camila Alves — tells PEOPLE.

“You know it. They just mature quicker, they just get it quicker,” adds McConaughey, 47.

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The actor then shares an anecdote that outlines his point, recounting a time when he and his older son were on the same wavelength and his daughter was thinking outside the box.

My daughter gets to the bottom of situations quicker than I do,” he says. “My son and I try to figure out where the car keys are and go through ideas [like], ‘Could they be in the coat you wore yesterday? Or maybe Livingston took ’em and put ’em over here.’ “

“Vida’ll just walk by and go, ‘Did you check the ignition?’ ” he explains, snapping his fingers for emphasis. “And sure enough, they’re in the ignition.”

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In McConaughey’s new movie Gold, he plays Kenny Wells: an overweight, balding businessman who searches for gold in the unknown jungles of Indonesia. For the role, the actor had to pack on the pounds and take on quite the eccentric personality.

And when asked whether his wife and kids are okay with him bringing his character home, he says it’s just a part of the process that they’re used to.

My family is fine with it. My family knows I — they’ve been on these journeys [before],” McConaughey says.

“But I was quite fun to live with during this,” he adds. “Kenny Wells is a fun guy to be around, and so whatever part of Kenny Wells I brought home … I was Captain Fun. That was my nickname.”

Gold hits theaters nationwide on Jan. 27.

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