Matthew McConaughey explains how free time helped jumpstart his career

Matthew McConaughey speaks on stage during HISTORYTalks Leadership & Legacy presented by HISTORY at Carnegie Hall on February 29, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey has said that being away from Hollywood, in what he called an “unbranded phase”, has actually helped revitalize his career.

McConaughey was speaking at the CogX 2021 conference on Tuesday on life lessons, a major focus of his “Greenlights” memoir, which was released last year.

By the 2000s, McConaughey had become known for starring in romantic comedies, but after the birth of his child, the actor suggested his job no longer challenged him enough.

It was at this point that McConaughey decided to take a two-year hiatus, which he called the “unbranded phase”, explaining that his absence from Hollywood was actually attracting calls for alternative dramatic roles. . McConaughey won the Oscar for Best Actor in 2014 for his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club”.

Taking that downtime was a “big risk,” McConaughey said.

“Believe me, I had the last six months before I got that phone call to come back to work in dramas – I didn’t know if I was ever going to work in Hollywood again,” he said.

Traffic light events

McConaughey also discussed how the death of his father, James Donald McConaughey, just days after working on his first acting job in the movie “Dazed and Confused” shaped his approach to his work.

He said that dealing with the loss of his father just as his career was taking off “was a challenge, but it was incredibly ingrained and that’s what I mean when I say you sober yourself up after losing one. to be expensive”.

“I think it helped me do a better job because I was more sober,” he added.

McConaughey used a traffic light analogy in his book to show what he had learned from those difficult times – green light events were meant to represent periods of success, while yellow and red light events reflected more difficult times.

McConaughey said he had noticed that “we like green lights, they say ‘go ahead, more please, attack-boy, way to go’ – they’re endorsement, affirmation.”

Yellow and red lights, on the other hand, can be an “interruption, they can be an intervention, they slow us down or stop our flow.”

McConaughey said he believes these tougher times “have a lesson in them that we’re supposed to learn and when we learn the lessons in them, that turns them green.”


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