How Matthew McConaughey dropped his ‘rom-com shirtless guy’ label

How Matthew McConaughey dropped his ‘rom-com shirtless guy’ label

Matthew McConaughey turned down roles for 20 months to transition from rom-coms to more serious films.

“So I’m rolling in rom-coms, they’re very successful. I’m the rom-com guy,” McConaughey, 50, recently said on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast. “They’re fun, they’re easy, I like doing them, they pay well, they’re paying for the rent of my house on the beach that I’m running around surfing shirtless on. I’m like going, ‘hell yeah.’”

But that all changed once he met his wife Camila Alves.

“All of a sudden my life is more full than it’s ever been. My life is vital man, I’ve had a newborn. I’m finally a father. I’ve met the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. You know, I laugh louder, I love harder, I have more rage, I have more joy, life is just full … But in my work, I’m feeling kind of like ehh I can get another rom-com, I could do that tomorrow morning,” he said.

When actor realized he wasn’t fulfilled by the films he’d been starring in, he decided to decline any roles that would keep him pigeonholed.

“Those movies I wanted to do, they were like, ‘No, not with you McConaughey – you’re the rom-com shirtless guy, we’re not gonna let you do this movie.’” he said, adding, “So I said if I can’t do what I want to do, I’m going to quit doing what I’ve been doing.”

For six months he turned down several roles that promised big paychecks and only then did Hollywood get the message.

“So another year goes by. Nothing comes in. Nothing comes in. I talk to my agent every couple of weeks. It’s just like nothing. Nothing,” he said. “A total of 20 months went by and all of a sudden, ‘Killer Joe’ comes my way, ‘Mud’ comes my way, ‘Magic Mike’ comes my way, ‘The Paperboy,’ ‘True Detective,’ I can get ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ made.”

He continued, “All of a sudden, these movies and this run that I went on come to me.”

Ultimately he realized that he had to disappear before he could reappear as an actor with a totally new skill set.

“I unbranded in that 20 months. You didn’t see me. The industry didn’t see me as a rom-com guy. You didn’t see me in the tabloids shirtless on the beach,” he said. “So all of a sudden, Matthew McConaughey for this dramatic role is now a new novel, good idea and a good idea that I wouldn’t have been 20 months prior. So I unbranded to rebrand basically.”

McConaughey was promoting his new book “Greenlights.“

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