A new path! Matthew McConaughey got honest about his difficult attempt to shed his rom-com reputation in order to try out more dramatic acting roles.
“I was the go-to rom-com guy. I enjoyed making them, and they paid well. I was leading a successful life as an actor. But there’s a certain buoyancy built into rom-coms that isn’t about hanging your hat on humanity, like a drama is,” McConaughey, 51, explained in an interview for AARP The Magazine‘s latest cover story on Wednesday, May 26. “If you go deep in a rom-com you can sink the ship. In my life, though, I was going very deep.”
“I found the love of my life in Camila [Alves]. We had a newborn coming. I had more things to get angry about, laugh about, have more joy about and be sad about. The ceilings and basements had more depth and height to them, and I wanted to do work that reflected my personal vitality,” he shared about his growing interest in more fulfilling onscreen roles.
The Texas native revealed that he attempted to take pay cuts to make it clear how serious he was about transitioning to more dramatic projects, but it didn’t work.
“So I quit. I talked to my wife, my agent and my business manager and said, ‘Look, I may not work for a while.’ And trust me, my family — my brothers, my mother, everybody — thought I was out of my freaking mind. They were like, ‘Little brother, what’s your major malfunction?’” he said. “It was scary. But Camila said, ‘If we’re going to do this, we’re not going to half-ass it.’”
The True Detective alum described how his two-year hiatus from acting turned into a negotiation for more serious opportunities. McConaughey even turned down an offer to film a movie for $14.5 million in order to stand his ground.
“No offers came in for almost a year and a half. I was now shaking hands with the fact that I may never work in Hollywood again. It pinched me a little, but I was OK with it. It was time for a new chapter in my life,” the Academy Award winner added.
But from that commitment came many successful offers for projects like Lincoln Lawyer, Magic Mike, Mud and Dallas Buyers Club.
McConaughey concluded: “I unbranded those two years to then rebrand. All of a sudden, I became a new, novel idea. The dramas came my way, and I jumped on them.”
The Wolf of Wall Street alum has previously described his career journey in his memoir, Greenlights.
“I was getting much more inner growth from my travels than from my career. I loved sales, education, music, and sports,” he wrote in the October 2020 release. “I considered changing professions, maybe start writing short stories and travelogues, going into advertising, or becoming a teacher, a musician, or a football coach. I didn’t know.”