McConaughey, Matthew: From Movie Star to Serious Actor

Matthew McConaughey: “Shirtless Romantic-Comedies” Phase and How Turning Down $14.5M Offer Led to Career Renaissance

The Academy Award-winning actor, writer and philanthropist joined Tim McGraw for a special episode of his Apple Music radio show for a wide-ranging discussion on fame, family and fatherhood.

Before he won the Best Actor Oscar (in 204 for Dallas Buyers Club), Matthew McConaughey was one of Hollywood’s bankable male stars of a certain genre.  well.

“I’m the go-to guy at rom-coms. I’m living in a pad in Malibu surfing on the beach shirtless. I’m shirtless rom-com McConaughey and I’m like, ‘You damn right I am, those rom-coms are paying for these houses that I’m renting on the beach, baby. Guilty. Come on.’ I’m fully happy with that,” the 51 actor recalled in conversation with Tim McGraw on the Beyond the Influence Radio show on Apple Music Country.

“At the same time, I started to feel like every rom-com script I did I go, ‘Oh, that’s a good one. I think I can do that tomorrow morning.’ Then I was like, ‘Well, I’m glad you feel like you could do that tomorrow morning, but I was like, I want to be scared. I want to look at something and go, ‘Oh, I don’t know what I’m going to do with that.’ I want to dive in a pool and trust I’ll come up to the other side than take the journey and come up bloody.”

 

Matthew McConaughey

McConaughey’s rom-com run included 2001’s The Wedding Planner opposite Jennifer Lopez, 2003’s How to Love a Guy in 10 Days opposite Kate Hudson, 2006’s Failure to Launch opposite Sarah Jessica Parker, 2008’s Fool’s Gold again opposite Kate Hudson and 2009’s Ghosts of Girlfriends Past opposite Jennifer Garner.

His wish to be scared and come up bloody led to career renaissance, but only after rejecting huge piles of money.

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“They started at an $8 million offer. I said no. They started $10 million. I say no. They go to $12.5, I said, ‘No, thank you.’ They go to $14.5, I said, ‘Let me read that script again.’ Let me tell you, at $14.5 million, it was the same words as the $8 million offer, but it was a more well-written script, sir. It was a funny script. It had more. But I said no,” he recalls while not mentioning the title. “Now when I said no to that, I do believe that sort an invisible lightning bolt went across Hollywood and they go, ‘Oh, McConaughey is not bluffing. He ain’t kidding.’” Then everything stopped. For another 14-15 months, nothing came in.”

He accepted the dry spell and even considered a new occupation, perhaps a high school football coach, but it turned out to be unnecessary because the phone began ringing again.

“As soon as I was spiritually sound with I may not go back to Hollywood, I’m going to do something else maybe in my life, I didn’t need it. I wasn’t’ looking [for] like, ‘Am I ever going to work again?’ Ring, guess who’s got a new good idea for Lincoln Lawyer, for Killer Joe, for Magic Mike, for Mud, for True Detective, for Dallas Buyer’s Club?” he explained. “I found anonymity in those two years–I unbranded–and no one knew where I was. By not being around they were like, ‘You know who’s a bright new idea? McConaughey for this.’ Then when they came, I jumped on it.”