AceShowbiz - Matthew McConaughey once turned down a $14.5 million (£10.3 million) payday after deciding to quit making romantic comedies in the hopes of reaching new heights as a dramatic actor.
The star had established himself as "the go-to rom-com guy" by the late 2000s, thanks to hits like "The Wedding Planner", "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days", and "Fool's Gold", but he yearned to return to dramas, and decided the only way to do so was to turn his back on the feel-good movies for which he had become known.
"If you go deep in a rom-com, you can sink the ship," McConaughey told AARP The Magazine. "In my life, though, I was going very deep. I found the love of my life in Camila [Alves, wife]. We had a newborn coming. I had more things to get angry about, laugh about, have more joy about and be sad about."
"I wanted to do work that reflected my personal vitality. But no matter how much of a pay cut I would take, dramas were not being offered to me. So I quit [romantic comedies]."
Not everyone in his family was on board with McConaughey's bold career move, but it was the support of his model wife which gave him the confidence boost he needed to step away from the spotlight until something more appealing came his way.
"It was scary," he confessed. "But Camila said, 'If we're going to do this, we're not going to half-a** it'."
He subsequently rejected "every rom-com script that came my way," including one which would have banked him $14.5 million, and for a while, he feared he had inadvertently brought about his own acting retirement.
"No offers came in for almost a year and a half," he said. "I was now shaking hands with the fact that I may never work in Hollywood again."
However, McConaughey's gamble paid off, and in 2011, he starred in "The Lincoln Lawyer", which led to a string of dramatic roles in features like "Killer Joe", "The Paperboy", and "Mud", as well as the critically-acclaimed TV series "True Detective", before eventually winning the Best Actor Oscar for "Dallas Buyers Club".
"I unbranded those two years to then rebrand," he said, reflecting on his career resurgence. "The dramas came my way and I jumped on them."
McConaughey may one day return to his romantic comedy roots - during a recent virtual reunion with his "The Wedding Planner" co-star Jennifer Lopez, she suggested finding a new project to collaborate on, because she missed his "energy".
"I hope to be around you soon!" she smiled.