Matthew McConaughey once turned down a $14.5 million paycheck so he could leave the world of romantic comedies.
The Oscar-winning actor wasn’t always the prestige acting talent he’s recognised as today, despite earlier appearances teasing his greatness, from Dazed and Confused and A Time to Kill and Reign of Fire.
The early millennium was crucial for McConaughey’s career, establishing himself as a household name with his southern drawl and leading man energy. However, when push came to shove, he took firm action.
In his new memoir Greenlights, the 50-year-old discusses the rom-com era of his filmography, starring in the likes of The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
The romantic comedies remained my only consistent box office hits, which made them my only consistent incoming offers.
For me personally, I enjoyed being able to give people a nitty-minute breezy romantic getaway from the stress of their lives where they didn’t have to think about anything, just watch the boy chase the girl, fall down, then get up and finally get her. I had taken the baton from Hugh Grant, and I ran with it.
While he ‘enjoyed making romantic comedies, and their paychecks rented the houses on the beach I ran shirtless on’, he soon craved a change, which brought about one of the greatest gear-shifts Hollywood has ever seen.
He even turned down a $14.5 million offer for another rom-com, explaining, ‘If I couldn’t do what I wanted, I wasn’t going to do what I didn’t, no matter the price.’
In 2011, the McConaissance was truly unleashed in Killer Joe, a dirty, violent, adult-only thriller from the director of The Exorcist, with the actor as a terrifying hitman. Other dramatic projects, such as Mud, The Lincoln Lawyer and Magic Mike, showcased a side of him hidden away by the blockbusters.
He went on to win an Academy Award for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club, later sparking a chest-thumping phenomenon in his small role in The Wolf of Wall Street. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe and Emmy for his lead turn in HBO’s True Detective alongside Woody Harrelson.
McConaughey’s memoir has been doing the rounds since it dropped this week, from the story of his dad’s death to revealing the sexual abuse he faced as a teenager. He describes the book as ’50 years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls… graces, truths, and beauties of brutality’.
Greenlights is available to buy from Amazon and other major retailers now.
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Topics: Film and TV, Film, Matthew McConaughey, Now