Hollywood might have the awards scorers like Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino or pure entertainers like Seann William Scott and Jason Biggs. But between those two layers there was a need for something to fill in the middle, some actors who were not only lightly amusing but also astonishing at the same time. Simply charming in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" (2003) but was dumbfounding in "A Time To Kill" (1996) Matthew McConaughey easily slipped under this category.
Born November 4, 1969 in a small town of Uvalde, Texas, he was raised in a conservative catholic family. His father Jim McConaughey was an ex pro footballer and a gas salesman while his mother Kay was a substitute teacher. Refusing to get involved in his father's business after his graduation from Longview High School, Longview, Texas in 1988, he moved to Australia only to do odd jobs, such as dish washing and scooping chicken dung. He finally made up his mind to return to U.S. and entered University of Texas. He was one step away from becoming a lawyer but immediately felt something was missing. After reading Og Mandino's book which emphasized on "do it now", without further hesitation he quickly turned to film directing. From 1991 onwards, he started to dig his artistic talents by posing for commercials especially beers and also acting for students' film projects. To gain qualifications from his school, he directed a short film titled "Chicano Chariots" in 1992 and graduated the following year. Soon after the graduation he was seeking jobs in which he had become so fond of. Drinking beer in a hotel bar in Austin, he never thought that his destiny was about to change.
His meeting with a casting agent named Don Phillips led to another meeting with director Richard Linklater. Initially, the Texan director hesitated using him as an actor in his film "Dazed and Confused" (1993) because he was thought too handsome. However, after he grew mustache and beard, Linklater immediately said okay. In fact, his role was extended from only 3 scenes to 300 lines because the impressed Linklater encouraged him to do impromptu. Matthew and his co-stars Milla Jovovich and Ben Affleck were suddenly highly recommended new stars. Such notice won him a part in "The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1994) where he played the cannibalistic killer, Vilmer. Although his part here was quite major, the flick itself was a disappointment. He and his fellow cast, Renee Zellweger, were the only things that were promising in the movie. However, after several acceptable performances in 1995, he made a startling come back by being a murder suspect in "Lone Star" (1996). Since then, more interesting roles were coming towards his way.
Going to the audition of "A Time to Kill", he was last compared to the other candidates such as Brad Pitt and Val Kilmer. However, as the owner of the copyright, John Grisham selected him out of the others. It was a tremendous opportunity as he was set as the main character Jake Tyler Brigance, a young and attractive lawyer who had to defend a black man accused of murder. The brilliant story plot, the amazing cast, the movie became a mega hit. Matthew was granted an award for Best Breakthrough Performance by the 1997 MTV Movie Awards and so did his opposite, Samuel L. Jackson who was nominated at the 1997 Golden Globe Awards for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture category. Apparently, apart from winning the award through this movie, Matthew also won Ashley Judd's heart. They met during the filming and dated before he was seen again with the other cast, Sandra Bullock sometime later. Such popularity came with a reason, he was in fact the hottest young leading man at that time. He was often compared to the legendary Paul Newman, both for his face resemblance and his capability as an actor. By then, contract offers were waiting in line for him to sign. He agreed to take two in 1997, Robert Zemeckis' "Contact" and Steven Spielberg's "Amistad". Although Matthew didn't exactly won any prestigious awards through the movies, he believed that his journey was still a long run as he philosophically stated, "Be the lean horse for the long ride. I figure I am in the third round of a 15 round fight."
Once again using his university skill in directing, he moved on to direct, write and star in a short comedy "The Rebel" (1998). He appeared again in a short movie directed, written and starred by his then girlfriend Sandra Bullock titled "Making Sandwiches" (1998) before his sassy appearance in comedy "Edtv" (1999). Starring as Ed 'Eddie' Pekurny, he was a store clerk who agreed to be filmed 24 hours a day. His life turned from ordinary to famous to fiasco when his brother cheated on him and all the family secrets were revealed. In his real life, Matthew was also exposed to media after a scandalous case of possessing marijuana. That night in 1999, a neighbor complained of noises from his house and called for the police. The officer sent broke into his house and found the naked Matthew who bongo danced with his actor friend Cole Hauser. He spent a night in prison but was released soon after proved innocent and paid a $50 fine. Recalling the night he said, "I don't want to rent a place there, but it was a nice stay for a night."
After hitting the bottom, he was back on his feet by leaving his 'boyish' status to appear in an Oscar winning motion picture "U-571" (2000) as Lt. Andrew Tyler and to take things easier, he added a romantic comedy "The Wedding Planner" (2001), an action fantasy "Reign of Fire" (2002) plus his romantic comedy "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" with Kate Hudson. In the big budgeted "Sahara" (2005), Matthew was featured as the fictional adventurer, Dirk Pitt who had to find out the source of pollution in West Africa while Penelope Cruz played a scientist sent by WHO to trace a plague happening at the same place. The two met and realized that they were battling the same problem. To portray a maximum characterization, Matthew had a camel riding lessons and weapon training. He even traveled alone through a landlocked country, Mali long before the production to get the picture of how the condition and location were. Unlike the budget which was as high as $170,000,000, the rating for this film didn't reach the top nor did it gain numerous awards. For the least, the 2005 Teen Choice Awards nominated Matthew and Cruz for Choice Movie Liplock and the two became real life lovers off screen.
Matthew closed the year 2005 with "Two for the Money" where he teamed up with Pacino to play two people rolling in money through football not by playing but gambling. Meanwhile, 2006 turned to be a busier period as he got the chance playing opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in "Failure to Launch" while highlighting sports drama "We Are Marshall" alongside Matthew Fox and David Strathairn. Sad to say, the schedule had kept him apart from Cruz so that they rarely got together, which then prompted the couple to publicly announce in a joint statement in May 2006 that they "have decided to take time off as a couple." Refusing to mourn over the break-up, the hunk determinedly put full concentration in his career for years ahead, taking parts in "Fool's Gold", "Surfer Dude", "The Grackle", "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past", and "Tropic Thunder' all released in 2008, as well as "Hammer Down" (2009) that put him under the direction of "Gridiron Gang" helmer Phil Joanou. The actor found love again in the arm of Brazilian model Camila Alves and announced in January 2008 that they are expecting the birth of their first child together.