Younger fans might have trouble remembering this, but there was a time when Matthew McConaughey was Hollywood's go-to guy for generic rom-com male lead roles. From 2001 to 2010, the actor appeared in a string of romantic hits including The Wedding Planner, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, Failure To Launch, Fool's Gold, and Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past. In his new memoir Greenlights, McConaughey defends his decision to devote a decade of his career to the romance genre's pop-corn flicks.
"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."
After a decade of making the same kind of movies that comforted rather than challenged the audience and McConaughey himself, the actor decided it was time for a change. His critically-acclaimed work in the '90s on such movies as A Time to Kill, Amistad, and The Newton Boys had shown what the actor could do with a meaty script, and moving into the start of the 2010s, McConaughey decided to go back to those kinds of movies, in a chapter of his career that fans have since dubbed, "the McConaissance".
But moving on required some sacrifices that 99.9% of the world's population could never dream of when McConaughey was offered a cool $14.5 million dollars in 2010 to make another rom-com. McConaughey's commitment to turning his career around was tested by the offer, which was for a film the actor does not name, but he ultimately knew what he had to do.
"I declined the offer. If I couldn't do what I wanted, I wasn't going to do what I didn't, no matter the price."
Instead of doing one last, highly lucrative rom-com, McConaughey lent his talents to a string of low-budget character-driven indie projects including Bernie, Killer Joe, and Mud. While his legions of adoring female fans were confused by the actor's new film choices, critics jerked to their feet, adjusted their glasses, and watched incredulously as the star of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past turned in one excellent performance in a difficult role after another.
After McConaughey had proven he was more than just a ridiculously good-looking face, the actor's film choices was noticed by Hollywood's biggest directors, who came calling one after another with prestige projects. It was then that the actor moved into his present role as a bonafide leading man, with an Oscar-winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club, a leading man role in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, and launching the Magic Mike franchise with Channing Tatum.
The actor's career has shown no signs of stopping since then, and he shows no signs of wanting to return to the world of forgettable rom-coms either. Hopefully, McConaughey will continue to make movies of the kind of caliber that fans have come to expect from him for the foreseeable future. IndieWire brings us this news.