Changing Perspectives: Matthew McConaughey’s Reinvention

“Just keep livin”, the motto Matthew McConaughey lives by has led to a sort of self-renaissance, or “McConnaissance” as the actor puts it. The term ‘just keep livin’ hints at the ability to shift and adjust, when necessary, for the preservation of the self. McConaughey’s career has experienced a similar adjustment through a shift and change in perspective of his career. Many called it the “5-year plan” in which McConaughey was able to make minor, yet significant, adjustments in his career that changed the way in which he was perceived as an actor. Changing perspectives is considered a hard thing to do. More often than not, a preconceived notion of who someone is becomes stubbornly solidified over the years. This notion, once established, is seemingly impossible to break free of.

McConaughey faced these same problems as a cyclical pattern of romantic comedy scripts were continuously handed to him. The attractive male lead, played by him, would be paired with a well known celebrity female lead such as Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kate Hudson. The stories would contain strife, issues, and a dysfunctional relationship – which later became the ingredients to an entertaining feature film. These films would garner a lot of money at the box office, but did not achieve critical acclaim. However, it isn’t to say that McConaughey did not enjoy making rom-coms. There was a certain “buoyancy to the frequency of rom-coms” as stated by McConaughey, “to be light is critically always looked down upon – it’s willowy, it’s wispy, it’s nothing. You know what? It’s not easy to do and a lot of people don’t do it well.” He did not regret accepting those roles and even appreciated the skill needed for it. Although he made a great deal of money at the box office, much of the “spice” he was looking for was absent. And so McConaughey made a conscious decision to stop accepting scripts that were not meaningful: “there were certain things I would say no to, and then they [studios] just quit sending those things.

So it went from, ‘Let’s not send him what we think he’s going to say no to,’ to, ‘OK, we get it.;’”. McConaughey demanded a shift in perspective of the sort of actor he was, by only choosing to accept significant roles. He tore down the believed idea of what sort of actor he was by taking initiative of his career. Suddenly, a plethora of the roles he was looking for began flooding towards him. From a cameo in “The Wolf of Wall Street” to his Academy Award portrayal of Ron Woodroof, a pioneer of the AIDs movement, in Jean-Marc Vallee’s “Dallas Buyers Club” – Matthew McConaughey experienced a self-renaissance. It was the type of renaissance that allowed him to not only change the public’s perception of him, but the perspective that the directors, writers, and other film creators had of him. He illustrated how changing a people’s perspective on a person and who they are is fundamentally dependent on that person’s actions. He ultimately took ownership of his career and did not allow a genre to define him.

Author: Idil Dahir

Idil Dahir is a freelance writer and editor living in Toronto, Ontario. She is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto in which she completed a specialist program in English. Idil enjoys everything from Films, TV Shows, Sports, Novels, and Comic Books. She is currently working on launching her blog in which she will react, review, and discuss the above mentioned topics. If you would like to contact Idil you can reach her at:


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