Matthew McConaughey Film ‘Sea of Trees’ Rents South End Artist’s Paintings

Marcia Crumley’s painting, “A River Runs Through It,” was one of five works rented for Matthew McConaughey’s film, “Sea of Trees,” which is filming in Worcester.
Marcia Crumley’s painting, “A River Runs Through It,” was one of five works rented for Matthew McConaughey’s film, “Sea of Trees,” which is filming in Worcester.
Courtesy of Marcia Crumley

When Marcia Crumley received an e-mail asking to use her paintings in Matthew McConaughey’s upcoming flick, “Sea of Trees,” the South End-based artist was skeptical.

“I’ve gotten a number of really funnily-worded and really suspicious e-mails and they always say something like ‘I saw your artwork online and these were the images I really liked,’” Crumley recalled in a phone interview with Boston.com.

But the e-mail from set decoration buyer Amy Morrison seemed different from the others.

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“It was professionally written with a logo on the email and contact information, so it just seemed much more legit,” Crumley said. “Once I talked to her I felt more comfortable about it and it just seemed like they wouldn’t have gone to all this effort, involving other people, to scam me.”

The paintings, five in total, were selected by Morrison and her team after scouting several galleries in Boston’s South End where Crumley keeps a studio. Morrison decided to contact Crumley after picking up her business card with a picture of one of her paintings on it, and then investigating further by seeing photos of her work online.

Following an agreement and precautionary paperwork, an art handler wrapped the paintings, loaded them on a truck and brought them to Worcester where “Sea of Trees” is currently filming for the next few weeks. Crumley was paid a rental fee valued at 15-30 percent of the paintings’ worth for their use in the film.

From what Crumley knows, one of the New England-inspired landscape paintings will be used in the living room of the house McConaughey and Naomi Watts’ married characters share in the film.

The Gus Van Sant-directed “Sea of Trees” centers on McConaughey’s character, Arthur Brennan, who travels to Aokigahara, Japan (also known as the Sea of Trees) where people go to contemplate life and death, according to Deadline. When McConaughey decides to commit suicide and picks a spot in which to do it, he meets Takumi Nakamura (McConaughey’s co-star, Ken Watanabe), and the pair begin a journey of reflection.

McConaughey was spotted taking in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Sunday, but we’re guessing the A-list actor will be at Monday’s Emmy Awards. He’s nominated for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for his role in “True Detective.”

“Sea of Trees” is due out in 2015.