Shepard played Tom Blankenship, a father figure to Matthew McConaughey’s titular character, in director Jeff Nichols’ coming-of-age drama. Mud spearheaded the “McConaissance” that resulted in an Academy Award for the previous rom-com favorite. It was while they were shooting the film that Shepard and McConaughey developed a mutual respect for one other’s talents.
In a Vanity Fair interview in 2013, the older actor had nothing but praise for McConaughey and his career reinvention. Shepard said, “It’s great to see an actor find himself, in his sojourn.” The pair, alongside the Mud ensemble, won the Robert Altman Award at the Independent Spirit Awards in 2014.