Matthew McConaughey became a movie star heart throb from the minute he appeared in the first scene in the movie Dazed and Confused. McConaughey has spent the majority of his career in movies that have been successful to a point. Successful in the hunky leading man, shirtless beefcake sort of way, but now Matthew McConaughey is taking it to a new level from here forward.
His rom-coms, thrillers, and dramas all have been successful at the box office but none have been considered Oscar contenders up until now. It seems in recent years, Matthew McConaughey has taken a good look at his career, and although it is thriving, he clearly wants more. Even after a 16 year career, Hollywood is still finding him desirable, so for McConaughey to reinvent himself without any scandal surrounding him is out of the ordinary, but is it out of the ordinary or a genius career move?
Not only is Matthew McConaughey reinventing his career in movies and as a leading man, but he is also taking parts he finds interesting and challenging that may not be lead roles or major movie roles. In critically acclaimed movies such as Richard Linklater’s Bernie, McConaughey plays District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson, a determined yet smooth talking lawyer. In Killer Joe, directed by William Freidkin, he plays a hit man hired to kill the mother of Emile Hirsch, where his pay is in the form of Hirsch’s sister Juno Temple. Both movies were seen in Cannes in 2012. Both of these films were for supporting roles. McConaughey is finding just the title of supporting actor one of the keys to his success. Not all roles need to be leading. This also goes for television roles. McConaughey is a part of the much talked about 2014 series for HBO True Detective. This is a one season deal for McConaughey, who plays an eccentric alcoholic detective working alongside Woody Harrelson.
Not only does a move like this open a lot more challenging doors for McConaghey, it also lets him keep the burden of carrying a big blockbuster off his shoulders. Although the audience may actually be coming to see him, the role is not a leading one, so the studios aren’t banking on him.
There is no doubt McConaughey is playing it smart. He is working a slightly altered version of ‘quit while you’re ahead’ even though his star was still on the rise. The decision to diversify has not only left him with more intriguing roles to play; it has put him in the award winners circle. He is working in movies that have tighter budgets, but have better writers with more meaningful content. He’s opting out of the fading rom-com genre and any genre that dictates gratuitous shirtless scenes. McConaghey has made his millions, so at 44, he basically can pave his own way by reinventing an already thriving career. As he said in his Oscar speech, the only people he wants to be proud of him are his wife and three kids, so if that is success for him, then he’s on the right track.
By Christina Thompson