Matthew McConaughey recently explained that it was saying no to a $14.5 million offer to star in a romantic comedy that ultimately led to his Oscar win. The actor opened up about his decision to give up the films that made him famous to explore more dramatic work in his new book Greenlights.
McConaughey rose to fame in the 1990s and early 2000s. He was the go-to lead actor in romantic comedies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. It was a very lucrative profession, he says.
“I was the go-to rom-com guy, I liked doing them, they paid me handsomely. I was the shirtless guy on the beach, and those romcoms paid for the house on the beaches that I went shirtless on… guilty,” McConaughey told Yahoo Life.
But it wasn’t what he wanted. He wanted to explore more interesting, dramatic roles. So, he decided to say no to those offers — regardless of the payday.
“I had a romcom come in and it started off with a $5 million offer that worked its way up to an $8 million dollar offer, I said no; $10 million offer I said no; $12 million dollar offer I said no,” McConaughey told Yahoo. The offer ultimately reached $14.5 million. He still said no.
It was the start of the “McConaissance,” the joking term for the serious rebrand of his career. Two years after walking away from that massive deal, McConaughey began to get offers for more dramatic roles.
Matthew McConaughey wins his Oscar
Matthew McConaughey’s career reached its critical apex with the 2013 biography Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey stars as Ron Woodroof, an AIDS patient in 1980 that smuggled unapproved HIV medication into Texas. He sold it to others who had the disease because they couldn’t treat their symptoms in any other way.
McConaughey won Best Actor at the 2014 Academy Awards for the role. It was a feat that no one would have guessed a few years earlier. No one except for McConaughey.
“I wrote that down in 1992,” he told Yahoo about foretelling his Oscar win. “I found that when I was writing this book, in my diaries, I’d forgotten I had written any of that down, but evidently I didn’t forget when I look at it, cause I’ve achieved or am in the middle of achieving most of those goals.”