Matthew McConaughey wanted to quit acting during rom-com height

Matthew McConaughey considered becoming a teacher or a wildlife guide to escape starring in so many rom-coms.

There are a few different images that could come to mind when picturing Matthew McConaughey. Maybe it’s the “Alright Alright Alright” Guru. Or maybe it’s the Oscar Winner. Or maybe, at worst, maybe it’s the King of 21st-Century Rom-Coms. While the latter truly made McConaughey a household name, rom-coms also pushed him to consider leaving Hollywood altogether.

In an interview with fellow Texan Glen Powell, McConaughey said, “When I had my rom-com years, there was only so much bandwidth I could give to those, and those were some solid hits for me. But I wanted to try some other stuff. Of course I wasn’t getting it, so I had to leave Hollywood for two years.”

2009’s Ghosts of Girlfriends was just the latest in a stream of rom-coms for McConaughey, which took off in the early part of the decade when he found himself working with Jennifer Lopez (The Wedding Planner), Kate Hudson (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Fool’s Gold) and Sarah Jessica Parker (Failure to Launch). When he came back, he started showing off much of what made him a draw in the ‘90s, giving strong and charismatic performances in movies like The Lincoln Lawyer and Bernie. Two years later, he won the Best Actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club.

But if he hadn’t come back after his rom-com departure, Matthew McConaughey may have considered another gig altogether. “I had long talks with my wife about needing to find a new vocation. ‘I think I’m going to teach high school classes. I think I’m going to study to be a conductor. I think I’m going to go be a wildlife guide.’ I honestly thought, ‘I stepped out of Hollywood. I got out of my lane.’ The lane Hollywood said I should stay in, and Hollywood’s like, ‘Well, f*ck you, dude. You should have stayed in your lane. Later.’” As he added, “I made up my mind that that’s what I needed to do, so I wasn’t going to pull the parachute and quit the mission I was on. But it was scary, because I didn’t know if I was ever going to get out of the desert.”

Analogies aside, Matthew McConaughey had a full reinvention following ditching rom-coms (which he has probably aged out of now anyway), working with the likes of Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan and Gus Van Sant, not to mention giving perhaps his finest performance to date, that of Rustin “Rust” Cohle on True Detective. His work might be less frequent but he clearly cares more about his output than ever before.

What is your favorite Matthew McConaughey performance? Give us your pick in the comments section below.

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