Don’t talk to McConaughey about blue screens. ”In this movie,” he reports, ”we’ve got actors in the same frame with downed, bloody, dead dragons.” You heard it here first, folks: hot McConaughey-on-dragon action. Because this time (like so many times before), it’s personal. In a postapocalyptic future, blaze-belching nasties have reduced human civilization to cinders. Our only hope? A British firefighter (Bale), a comely ‘copter pilot (Scorupco), and a brash, tattooed American named Van Zan (McConaughey). ”It’s pretty medieval,” the Texan says of his favorite weaponry, an ax-and-pick combination he designed with director Bowman (who last directed the big-screen ”X-Files”). ”We’ve got a tank, we’ve got a harpoon. But the ax is what I call the coup de grace.”
But don’t feel sorry for the steroidal salamanders. ”They’re just mean, badass reptiles,” says McConaughey. In other words, it’s no ”Pete’s Dragon;” indeed, ”Reign of Fire” does a real 180 on the flying-lizard sensitivity issue for parent company Disney. But McConaughey is quick to note: ”You’re talking to me, the Dragon Slayer, you know. [Disney] probably wouldn’t use those words. But this is my business, ‘cause I’m the guy slaying the dragons.” Okay, we get it.