When Matthew McConaughey acted with younger stars Channing Tatum in Magic Mike and Zac Efron in The Paperboy, he realised they were taking the mantle of the sexy Hollywood guy with the great body.
''I still feel 27, so I definitely don't feel older,'' the 42-year-old Texan says, flashing a trademark grin. ''I've been doing this since '93, so we are talking nearly 20 years. It doesn't feel like that big handover but there is a bit of an elder statesmen side to Mr McConaughey, and he can share some experiences.''
McConaughey admits he has matured since becoming a father to Levi, 3, and Vida, 2, his children with Brazilian beauty, Camila Alves, 30, whom he married last month.
''It's a wonderful time in my life; it is a wonderful time in my career. It feels courageous; it feels clear. I am getting more sticking with me from the work after I leave.''
The changes began with The Lincoln Lawyer last year. Now, McConaughey has five films to look out for: Magic Mike released last week; Bernie, his third film with Richard Linklater (who gave him his start in Dazed and Confused in 1993) opens August 16; he's a lawyer again in The Paperboy; he's nasty as hell in Killer Joe; and he does some of his best work to date in Mud as a Robinson Crusoe-type character pining for his lost love, played by Reese Witherspoon.
McConaughey's family now goes with him everywhere. ''We are a great team,'' he says. ''The kids get to travel and I get to come home to my family.''
But don't expect to see a middle-aged spread on the rom-com heart-throb just yet. He more than holds his own in Magic Mike , and still keeps a daily promise to himself: ''My rule is to break one sweat a day. Whether it's exercise, dancing or whether it's taking the bike or hoofing it instead of taking the car. It's easier when you've got kids. Go hang with your kids for two hours in the yard and go wherever they go and you will break a sweat!''
Magic Mike is out now.