Actors live different lives within each new character they take on, but sometimes their careers can also take on their own eras of life and death depending on the kinds of projects they join. Matthew McConaughey is one of those talents with distinctive eras, one even distinctively being coined the ‘McConaissance.’ But before his critically-acclaimed golden age, the actor had rom-com fans swooning over how he brought his easygoing persona to his various characters in the genre.
After guest starring on Sex in the City in 2000, Matthew McConaughey starred in five romantic comedies in the matter of a decade, all of which big hits. You know what I’m talking about: The Wedding Planner, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure To Launch, Fool’s Gold and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Here’s what happened next, per McConaughey:
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.
What offer? The actor reportedly turned down a $14.5 million paycheck after his string of rom-coms back in 2010. He detailed why he decided to end the successful streak in his memoir Greenlights (via IndieWire). During the candid recollection of his career, Matthew McConaughey said the offers kept rolling in from the genre due to his success. He He also said the following about why he initially kept going for them:
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.
Matthew McConaughey was perfectly comfortable as the rom-com guy, and it sounds like he could have defined his entire career with this hopeless romantic route if he wanted to. Instead, the actor decided to make the conscious decision to pass on a major one. Back then, the studio apparently went back and gave the actor another offer after he passed, but he didn’t budge.
It was a risk on the actor’s end too. By deciding to forgo his ‘alright, alright, alright’ slogan to the typical type of movie he’d become especially famous for, he didn’t find another job for over a year after making Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Once the actor got the ball rolling, he had a string of flops (Bernie, Killer Joe and The Paperboy) before some of his best movies to this day such as Magic Mike, Dallas Buyers Club and Interstellar, as well as HBO's True Detective, brought about a new age for him.
That’s not to say he didn’t enjoy his time in the rom-com genre. The actor still looks back fondly on his time making How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days with Kate Hudson and called the roles “Saturday characters.” He was getting great pay for them and still gets paychecks in the mail for How To Lose A Guy almost 20 years later.
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