Matthew McConaughey: Why He Stopped Doing Rom-Coms

In his new memoir Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey talks about why he finally quit making romantic comedies in 2009.

By Ross Bonaime | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey has had a fascinating career, one that started in earnest with Richard Linklater’s iconic Dazed and Confused and has had its twists and turns over almost thirty years. After appearing in films like Contact, Amistad, and The Newton Boys in the 1990s, Matthew McConaughey went on to become one of the most consistent rom-com actors of the 2000s. In his new memoir Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey talks about why he finally quit making romantic comedies.

From 2001 to 2009, Matthew McConaughey made five rom-coms: 2001’s The Wedding Planner, 2003’s How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, 2006’s Failure to Launch, 2008’s Fool’s Gold, and finally, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past in 2009. In the 2000s, casting Matthew McConaughey in a rom-com was like printing money, as the least successful of these – The Wedding Planner – still made $94 million worldwide.

In his memoir, Matthew McConaughey writes of this time, as reported by IndieWire, “The romantic comedies remained my only consistent box office hits, which made them my only consistent incoming offers.” McConaughey continued, “For me personally, I enjoyed being able to give people a nitty-minute breezy romantic getaway from the stress of their lives where they didn’t have to think about anything, just watch the boy chase the girl, fall down, then get up and finally get her. I had taken the baton from Hugh Grant, and I ran with it.”

Matthew McConaughey Kate Hudson

Yet in 2010, Matthew McConaughey decided he had made enough romantic comedies, turning down $14.5 million to make another rom-com. McConaughey doesn’t state in the memoir what that film was, yet it does show just how much of a sure thing McConaughey was at the box office as a romantic lead. He decided to move beyond rom-coms and do something new. McConaughey says, “If I couldn’t do what I wanted, I wasn’t going to do what I didn’t, no matter the price.”

Matthew McConaughey has said in the past that his wife Camila Alves, whom he married in 2012, gave him the motivation to go after different projects that interested him more. The shift after the 2000s was a massive and immediate change for McConaughey – and for the better. In 2011, he would appear in The Lincoln Lawyer, Killer Joe, and reunite with Linklater for Bernie.

McConaughey took chances, like Mud, Magic Mike, and The Paperboy, before 2013, where he would appear in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street and earn a Best Actor Academy Award for his work in Dallas Buyers Club. Soon after, Matthew McConaughey would star in both Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and the HBO series, True Detective, leading many to call this period the “McConaissance.”

Matthew McConaughey Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey hasn’t made a romantic comedy since Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and while recent films like 2017’s The Dark Tower and 2019’s Serenity haven’t been as critically or commercially adored as the films during the peak of the “McConaissance,” at the very least, his career has certainly been more interesting in recent years.

Greenlights, which Matthew McConaughey put out on October 20, 2020, was written when McConaughey spent 52 days alone in the desert without any electricity. McConaughey said the book started from journals he had begun writing when he was fourteen. McConaughey was most recently seen this year in Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen, and he will next be heard in Sing 2, which is currently filming, where he will reprise his role of Buster Moon.