“I’m just gonna have to carry the water?”: Woody Harrelson Became Envious of His “Half-Brother” Matthew McConaughey After True Detective

Woody Harrelson believes that long-time collaborator Matthew McConaughey got to play the 'fun part' in 'True Detective.'

"I'm just gonna have to carry the water?": Woody Harrelson Became Envious of His "Half-Brother" Matthew McConaughey After True Detective


  • Possible half-brothers Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey's most iconic partnership came from the first season of 'True Detective' (2014).
  • Despite playing a significant role in the series, Harrelson believed that McConaughey got the better end of the stick, with a much more 'fun part' to play.
  • This experience formed the foundation for the hesitation 'The Hunger Games' star felt before signing on for 'White House Plumbers' (2023).
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Potential ‘half-brothers’ Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey have shared the screen beyond the critically acclaimed first season of the anthology crime drama series True Detective. Having starred in projects like Welcome to Hollywood, EDtv, and Surfer, Dude, the lifelong pals have become one of those Hollywood duos everyone has grown to cherish.


However, despite enjoying a sustained, collaborative partnership, it has been alluded that The Hunger Games alum was possibly envious of the role McConaughey snagged in the Nic Pizzolatto-created HBO show.

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in True Detective (2014). Credit: HBO
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in True Detective (2014). Credit: HBO

In an interview promoting Harrelson’s latest TV stint, White House Plumbers (2023), writer and creator Peter Huyck emphasized the uber-talented Emmy winner’s initial reluctance to sign up for the satirical political drama.


Here, it was revealed that Harrelson was skeptical of the role he would be offered for the outing and compared it to his experience in True Detective, where, according to him, McConaughey got the more “fun part.”

Woody Harrelson Was A Little Envious Of Matthew McConaughey’s Role In True Detective

True Detective (2014)
True Detective (2014)

When the first season of True Detective was unveiled, McConaughey and Harrelson, who played cop partners and homicide detectives, were singled out and subjected to immense praise. The pair’s on-screen efforts contributed to the gritty believability of the HBO undertaking, honoring its strengths as a compelling series with its profound storytelling, remarkably well-written characters, and evocative ambiance.

One could then conclude that McConaughey and Harrelson proved monumental in making the show an astronomical success (beyond its plot and premise).


Nonetheless, it now seems the latter might not have been entirely satisfied with his stint in the gripping mystery thriller.

White House Plumbers creator Peter Huyck’s statement in a Vulture interview showcased Woody Harrelson‘s initial reluctance to come aboard the 2023 political satire train as he compared the prospects of the role to his True Detective experience, where McConaughey, as per The Hunger Games star, got the better end of the stick.

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in True Detective (2024)
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in True Detective (2014)

Huyck stated:


“When we all went up to your house to try and convince you [referring to Woody Harrelson] to do the part, you said, “Look, I did True Detective, and McConaughey got the cool part—the fun part. He got to do more crazy shit.”

He further added:

“You were like, “It feels like it’s gonna happen again. Is [Justin] Theroux gonna play all the funny shit, and I’m just gonna have to carry the water?” I was like, “No, no. Hunt’s equally crazy. Different crazy. He’s got wigs. He speaks Spanish. He’s a real eccentric character. You’re gonna have fun doing it.” What do you think now that we’re done?”

Responding to the White House Plumbers writer, Harrelson concluded, “He still got the best part. But I’m still quite happy to be in the project.”

Woody Harrelson’s remarks suggest a lighthearted disposition, and we’re sure he doesn’t hold not getting a ‘fun part’ in True Detective against Matthew McConaughey. Speaking of the duo, many of you might be aware that there’s a possibility that Harrelson and McConaughey are biologically related. Although not 100% confirmed, the story revolving around the revelation was brought to light last year by the latter, and it may be—if true—one of the craziest off-camera Hollywood twists ever.


Matthew McConaughey And Woody Harrelson Could Potentially Be Brothers

EDtv (1999)
EDtv (1999)

Interstellar star Matthew McConaughey dropped a bombshell revelation last year on Kelly Ripa’s podcast Let’s Talk Off Camera. He disclosed that there might be more to his relationship with Woody Harrelson than he had first thought. He prefaced his statement by affirming, “Where I start and where he ends, and where he starts and I end, has always been like a murky line.”

Looking back at their friendship, McConaughey claimed the two had always embodied the spirit of brother-like camaraderie. This was best emphasized by a point the star made (via Variety):

“My kids call him Uncle Woody. His kids call me Uncle Matthew. And you see pictures of us and my family thinks … pictures of him are me. His family thinks a lot of pictures of me are him.”

The Oscar-winning performer didn’t anticipate the translation of this bond into reality, as he started questioning his biological relation to Harrelson after the former’s mother delved into a jaw-dropping disclosure while the two stars’ families were in Greece. He recalled:


“In Greece a few years ago, [we were] sitting around talking about how close we are and our families. And my mom is there, and she says, ‘Woody, I knew your dad.’ Everyone was aware of the ellipses that my mom left after ‘knew.’ It was a loaded K-N-E-W.”

EDtv (1999)
EDtv (1999)

This prompted Matthew McConaughey to do the math, and he concluded that his mother might have ‘known’ Harrelson’s father when she and her husband were in their second divorce. In a separate interview with Esquire (via Yahoo! News), Woody Harrelson, the supposed half-brother, confirmed that McConaughey’s “origination” may have coincided with the alleged association between their parents.

At the time of McConaughey’s statement, the actor indicated that he had not yet decided to get a DNA test done to confirm any possible family ties with his True Detective co-star.

Whether or not they attempt to uncover the truth remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it’s one of those coincidences that get stranger the more you think about it. What are the chances of the two long-time collaborators and close friends being actual brothers?


True Detective (2014-present) is available for streaming on Max.


Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Articles Published: 659

Debdipta Bhattacharya is a content writer at FandomWire, where she has written more than 500 articles on various topics of interest. She possesses a sincere passion for popular culture, anime, film production, and the evolving world of YouTube and streaming culture which has allowed her to be a devoted and well-informed writer. Debdipta holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She has honed her skills and expertise in content writing with over two years of experience and strives to learn and grow daily.