Matthew McConaughey found out about his co-star Sam Shepard’s death during a red carpet interview

The pair appeared together in the 2012 film 'Mud'

Matthew McConaughey heard the sad news about his former co-star Sam Shepard’s death for the first time during a red carpet interview.

The actor was at the LA premiere of The Dark Tower when a reporter asked him for his reaction the acting legend’s death. McConaughey and Shepard had appeared together in the 2012 movie Mud.

“Sam Shepard moved on?” McConaughey responded, clearly shocked by the news. “Gosh damnit, from what?”

As The Independent reports, the reporter said he didn’t know what the cause of death was, but continued to ask for McConaughey’s memories of the star. “Look, I’m not going to trivialise that situation – I just heard about it for the first time,” he replied.

“But I always told [director] Jeff Nichols this – in Mud, the whole trailer for Mud could be Sam Shepard sitting in that green chair telling the boy about who Mud is. It would be about a two-and-a-half minute trailer, but it would have been really badass.”

Still processing the news, McConaughey continued: “He moved on today? Damn, we lost one of the great ones. Great writer, great mind. Alright, see you in the next one, Sam.”

Shepard passed away at home in Kentucky last Thursday (July 27) following complications pertaining to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), his family said in a statement. His death was announced on Monday (July 31).

During a long and incredibly distinguished career, Shepard received Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his acting, and won the Pulizer Prize for Drama for his 1979 play Buried Child. He also received a BAFTA nomination for co-writing the screenplay to Wim Wenders’ classic 1984 road movie Paris, Texas, and earned Tony nominations for two of his plays.

Patti Smith has paid tribute to the actor in The New Yorker. “Sam promised me that one day he’d show me the landscape of the Southwest, for though well-travelled, I’d not seen much of our own country,” she wrote.

“But Sam was dealt a whole other hand, stricken with a debilitating affliction. He eventually stopped picking up and leaving. From then on, I visited him, and we read and talked, but mostly we worked. Laboring over his last manuscript, he courageously summoned a reservoir of mental stamina, facing each challenge that fate apportioned him.

“Going over a passage describing the Western landscape, he suddenly looked up and said, “I’m sorry I can’t take you there.” I just smiled, for somehow he had already done just that. Without a word, eyes closed, we tramped through the American desert that rolled out a carpet of many colors—saffron dust, then russet, even the color of green glass, golden greens, and then, suddenly, an almost inhuman blue. Blue sand, I said, filled with wonder. Blue everything, he said, and the songs we sang had a color of their own.”