The Transformation of Matthew McConaughey

Posted: March 3, 2014


Following his victory in the Best Leading Male category at the Oscars last night, Lorenzo Ciotti looks at the amazing change in the career of Matthew  McConaughey.

When you think of Hollywood actors, the first things that come to mind are fame, wealth and beauty. And it is this bond between Hollywood and beauty which immediately brings the image of a blond Matthew McConaughey, a man capable of creating burning desire in every woman on the planet. Frequently at the top of best looking men votes, the actor managed to win you over with his long blond hair, his physique carved from marble and a look similar to the legendary Paul Newman.

But were his performance as an actor at the same height as his pretty face?

McConaughey was born in 1969 of Irish descent, and grew up in Longview- a small town east of Dallas, Texas. After graduating from Longview High School in 1988, where his outstanding athletic qualities made him shine even at school (where he also won the prize for Most Beautiful Student), he spent a short time in Australia, before returning to the US, where he enrolled at the University of Austin.

However, after reading The Greatest Salesman in the World, he understood that this was not his way, and thanks to his friend and producer Don Phillips, who was a film student, he began taking acting classes and screenwriting. 

His acting debut came in 1992, in an episode of the TV series Unsolved Mysteries. He appeared for the first time on the big screen the following year, in the comedy My Boyfriend's Back.  Following that, he put together a great defence in favor of Samuel L. Jackson, the executioner of the film A Time to Kill (1996), and donned the robes of a theologian in the sci-fi Contact and those of a lawyer in the historical film Amistad.

However, international fame came after the movie EdTV. The film, directed by Ron Howard, tells the story of a salesman who agrees to be the star of a reality show that takes 24 hours. Then came the romcom phase, with films like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and the lacklustre The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Fool's Gold which left their mark in the memory of the public.

Then his career began to change in 2010, remaining quiet for a year, rejecting roles in action films and romantic comedies, to focus on more serious roles. Thanks to Killer Joe by William Friedkin, where he plays an ex-cop turned assassin, he got the first real critical acclaim of his career, winning a Saturn Award for Best Actor and getting nominated at the Independent Spirit Awards.

2013 is perhaps the most important year of his career. McConaughey appeared in two films, both nominated for an Oscar- Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf of Wall Street. It was the former that he finally announced himself to the world as a fine actor, picking up the Oscar for Best Leading Male.

2014 is sure to be hectic for McConaughey, and he has already finished filming his leading part in Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi film Interstellar