In a new interview for AARP The Magazine’s latest cover story, the 51-year-old talked about his decision to quit acting in romantic comedies, including how his wife responded once he broke the news.
After referring to himself as “the go-to rom-com guy,” the Oscar winner found himself dissatisfied with the genre, even though he found amazing success with movies like The Wedding Planner, Fool‘s Gold, Failure to Launch, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
“If you go deep in a rom-com, you can sink the ship,” McConaughey explained. “In my life, though, I was going very deep. I found the love of my life in Camila. We had a newborn coming. I had more things to get angry about, laugh about, have more joy about and be sad about.”
He went on to say, “I wanted to do work that reflected my personal vitality. But no matter how much of a pay cut I would take, dramas were not being offered to me. So I quit.”
While the star received mixed reactions from his family and friends once he finally broke the news, his wife’s words are what really helped him feel confident in his decision to take a hiatus from acting.
“It was scary,” he said about his decision. “But Camila said, ‘If we’re going to do this, we’re not going to half-ass it.’”
That’s why, with the support of his wife, McConaughey went on to turn down “every rom-com script that came my way,” even declining a script that came with an offer of $14.5 million.
“No offers came in for almost a year and a half. I was now shaking hands with the fact that I may never work in Hollywood again,” he admitted.
Ultimately, his decision to distance himself from romantic comedies paid off, later scoring roles in critically acclaimed dramas like Lincoln Lawyer, Killer Joe, and HBO’s True Detective. In 2014, McConaughey won the Oscar for Best Actor at the Academy Awards for his performance as Ron Woodroof in the award-winning drama Dallas Buyers Club.
“I unbranded those two years to then rebrand,” McConaughey said about quitting rom-coms. “The dramas came my way and I jumped on them.”