It may not be to most actors’ tastes, but Matthew McConaughey is sounding oddly happy about his smaller paydays.
"For the first time in my career, I lost money! No joke!” the actor says.
Then again, McConaughey has reason to smile; his choice to reject big mainstream movies, ultimately in favor of gritty roles in independent films, represents a dramatic career shift –— and has garnered widespread recognition — for the 44-year-old Texas-born father of three.
His performance in “Dallas Buyers Club,” as the real-life Ron Woodroof, a homophobic good ol’ boy who became a health crusader after being diagnosed with AIDS, smuggling life-saving drugs into the U.S. for himself and fellow patients, has earned him top honors at the Golden Globes and SAG awards, and brought him his first Oscar nomination.
It is one of several complicated characters that McConaughey has boldly portrayed recently — from the hard-edged drifter in “Mud” and the thong-wearing stripper in “Magic Mike” to the lonely hitman in “Killer Joe.”
And now he’s taken that newfound acting potency to the smallscreen as a cop dealing with personal demons in the new HBO series “True Detective.” Hollywood is already buzzing that before the year is out, McConaughey could walk away with an Oscar and an Emmy sitting side by side on his mantle.
This sudden acclaim comes after more than a decade in which the actor’s talents had not been taken as seriously as his good looks. His biggest hits came in the form of romantic comedies, beginning with 2001’s “The Wedding Planner” and two years later in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” Christine Peters, who produced “How to Lose a Guy,” says McConaughey was the obvious choice to headline that film. “We needed sexy, hot, charming, intelligent — really, how many guys are there out there like that?” she notes. “He’s a true Southern gentleman.”