For Matthew McConaughey, sweeping women off their feet onscreen was not going to be alright, alright, alright forever.
The 51-year-old actor, who rose to fame after a small role as a stoner in Dazed and Confused, was known for leading roles in blockbuster '00s romantic comedy movies such as The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days before being cast in grittier roles like in HBO's True Detective and the film Dallas Buyers Club, for which he won an Oscar. But, somewhere in the middle of his career journey, he quit Hollywood for a while.
"I was leading a successful life as an actor. I was the go-to rom-com guy. I liked doing rom-coms. They paid well," McConaughey said in an interview published in AARP the Magazine's June/July 2021 issue. "But I remember noticing at that time that my life was getting very deep. I found the love of my life in [my wife] Camila [Alves]. We had a newborn coming. I had more joy, I had more sadness. The extremes, the ceilings and the basements of my own emotions of my life had more depth and more height to them. So my work, I felt like, 'Oh, I've got to kind of compress that with these rom-coms.'"
He continued, "But I still said, 'Boy, I'd sure like to do some work that challenges the vitality that I'm feeling in my life. And that work, dramas, were not being offered to me."
The actor said he talked to his wife, agent and business manager and said he may not work for a while. He told the magazine his family thought "he was out of my freaking mind," adding, "It was scary. But Camila said, 'If we're going to do this, we're not going to half-ass it.'"
"So I go on this sabbatical away from Hollywood. I say no to every rom-com script that comes in to me," McConaughey told AARP. "I even turn one down for $14.5 million."
The Texas native said he received no acting offers for more than a year and started to think that he may never work in Hollywood again.
McConaughey filmed a few films that were released in the late '00s and also had a recurring role on the HBO comedy series Eastbound & Down before making his big screen comeback.
"Then as life happens, ring!" McConaughey told AARP. "The Lincoln Lawyer. Killer Joe. Mud. Bernie. Magic Mike. True Detective. Dallas Buyers Club."
In Dallas Buyers Club, released in 2013, McConaughey played the leading role of an AIDS patient who helps his peers access life-saving medication. He joined Woody Harrelson in the debut season of True Detective, released in 2014, which earned both actors Emmy nominations.
"Far as I can tell, those people that go 'nana-nana boo-boo' when you fall down and fail, they're on the sidelines for a reason," McConaughey shared. "To that, I say, 'Alright, alright, alright. Just keep living.'"