Matthew McConaughey has had a big 2012, foregoing his usual (as of late) romantic comedies for independent films (it’s a McConaugh-aissance, remember?) And now that Oscar season has rolled around, McConaughey’s name is being floated as a potential nominee for his role of Dallas, the ambitious strip club owner in Magic Mike. McConaughey recently granted an interview to Ramin Setoodeh of The Daily Beast about researching strip clubs in New Orleans, his first (semi) nude scene, and slimming down for his new role as an HIV-positive patient in Dallas Buyer’s Club. here were our four key takeaways:

1. In their research for the film, Channing Tatum and McConaughey dropped by a male strip club in New Orleans, but stayed in the back so no one would recognize them.

RS: Did you meet any strippers to prepare for the part?

MM: I went to one male revue in New Orleans. Channing [Tatum] and I went together. The one thing I got from that: this is not these guys’ real jobs. One guy I met that night was back from Afghanistan. Another guy was a lawyer and had three kids. They all looked like accountants when they were in street clothes. The other thing I learned is the production value is horrible. I said to Steven, “Can I run this production?” I took off on that. I became P.T. Barnum. I was channeling Jim Morrison and Malcolm McDowell from A Clockwork Orange.

2. If McConaughey fails at acting, he could translate his knowledge from Magic Mike into a real career as a strip-club showrunner.

MM: My mind worked a lot in preparation of this character, in terms of what’s going to make the most money. How are we going to entertain these women for two hours? The music has to be on cue, the lighting, the intros, exits, keep the show going. We’re not going to do any of that goofy stuff with dwarfs coming out. No one is going to be running out with big dildos sticking out of their thongs. We’re going to give you Tarzan. We’re going to give you the Latin lover. We’re going to give you Big Dick Richie, and his secret weapon is evident in his name.

3. Extras on films may not get paid much, but there are some, um, fringe benefits.

RS: Was this your first nude scene?

MM: Well, I had a thong on.

RS: Didn’t it fall off at one point?

MM: One side did get ripped off [by the extras in the audience]. And I remember that moment, it’s really clear to me. I did feel the chill of the air hit me in some spots that it hadn’t hit me before. As soon as I felt that, I stayed in rhythm, my hand went down, made sure I held the straps up, I cupped it between my legs and stood up and did a body roll out. I stayed on the beat and stayed right on tune, and then just kind of walked out of there, one hand up, one hand down, holding the thong on.”

4. Thong selection is a lost art.

RS: Let’s talk about the wardrobe. Did you have a selection of thongs to choose from?

MM: No. But we talked about what the thong would be. Dallas would have a different thong than anyone else. I always said Dallas is like a rattlesnake, so we said let’s give him a rattlesnake thong. Then we started dealing with how long the tassels will be. This, that, and the other. All those very important details.