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How Matthew McConaughey Went From ‘Shirtless Rom-Com’ Guy To Academy Award Winner

Just how did actor Matthew McConaughey transform from being the “shirtless rom-com guy” to an Academy Award winning actor? Find out just why his career changed trajectory below.

McConaughey Recalls Career

“I’m the go-to guy at rom-coms. I’m living in a pad in Malibu surfing on the beach shirtless. I’m shirtless rom-com McConaughey and I’m like, ‘You damn right I am, those rom-coms are paying for these houses that I’m renting on the beach, baby. Guilty. Come on.’ I’m fully happy with that,” McConaughey said, according to The Hollywood Reporter [1].

You can see all his different looks in the video below and hear what he has to say:

During these years, McConaughey starred in movies like The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. 

Over time, McConaughey started to feel less fulfilled as he realized that he could simply roll out of bed and play a “shirtless rom-com” character. 

Related: Matthew McConaughey Calls Out Hollywood Leftists Who ‘Condescend’ To And ‘Patronize’ Working Americans [5]

“I was like, ‘Well, I’m glad you feel like you could do that tomorrow morning,’ but I was like, ‘I want to be scared.’ I want to look at something and go, ‘Oh, I don’t know what I’m going to do with that,'” he said. “I want to dive in a pool and trust I’ll come up to the other side then take the journey and come up bloody.” 

He Turns Things Around

McConaughey added that things started to change for him when he eventually just said “no” to a rom-com role despite knowing he would be perfect for it.

Though he didn’t name the film, he said that he was going to be paid $8 million to $14.5 million for it. 

“Now when I said no to that, I do believe that sort an invisible lightning bolt went across Hollywood and they go, ‘Oh, McConaughey is not bluffing, he ain’t kidding,’” he continued.

It took over a year for McConaughey to be offered another part.

Just when he started to think his acting career was dead in the water, he finally got offered some interesting roles. 

Related: Matthew McConaughey Reveals Running For Governor Of Texas Is ‘A True Consideration’ [6]

McConaughey’s New Career

“As soon as I was spiritually sound with ‘I may not go back to Hollywood, I’m going to do something else maybe in my life, I didn’t need it,'” he recalled. “I wasn’t looking [for] like, ‘Am I ever [going to work again]?’ Ring, guess who’s [got] a new good idea for ‘Lincoln Lawyer,’ for ‘Killer Joe,’ for ‘Magic Mike,’ for ‘Mud,’ for ‘True Detective,’ for ‘Dallas Buyer’s Club?”

In 2014, McConaughey won the Oscar for best actor for his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club [7].”

He also published his memoirs called “Greenlights” in October 2020, which has been on the NYTimes Best Sellers list for 33 weeks so far. 

Looking back, McConaughey is thankful for the year he spent not working because it allowed him to “unbrand” himself and let filmmakers see him as more than just the “shirtless rom-com guy.”