What with his recent Academy Award win the other night, he’s the toast of Hollywood. But Matthew McConaughey is hardly an overnight success.
If you recall, we first saw him on-screen in a small, but memorable role in the critically acclaimed Dazed and Confused (Alright, Alright, Alright! )
After that however, he drifted through a series of forgettable films including Texas Chainsaw Massacre-The Next Generation, Angels In The Outfield and ‘the male lead” in a Trisha Yearwood music video!
And yet, this wouldn’t be the first time his career appeared stalled.
His big break came in 1996 when he was cast in the lead for the John Grisham film, A Time To Kill. This, everyone said, would be the film which would catapult him into Hollywood A+ status. He was on his way.
Well, not quite. Who knows, maybe he had a bad agent. Maybe he chose to chase the money by starring in bombs like EDtv, The Newton Boys and the laughably bad, Contact with Jodie Foster.
Or maybe that “bongo incident” was a sign of another sort of problem.
Everyone agreed he had something, a presence on the screen, but it wasn’t being maximized by co-starring with Kate Hudson in a series or horrifically bad romantic comedies, which as anyone knows, are the worst kind of comedies known to man.
He was in danger of becoming an afterthought within the industry. A well paid afterthought, but an afterthought nevertheless.
So what kept him plugging away?
As a college student in Texas, at some point along the way he picked up a copy of the book, “The Greatest Salesman In The World” by Og Mandino.
He credits this short, 1968 self-help book with keeping him grounded and on-track throughout his life, even during the lean years.
“The book’s a kind of philosophy on life. I started reading it right before I was due to take my exams for law school and I got so engrossed in it that I was almost late for my exam! But it was well worth it because that book changed my outlook on life and gave me the courage I needed to chase my dream of applying to film school.”
I too went through my own self-help book stage a few years back. (Yes, those are actually my books!) I never quite finished “The Greatest Salesman…” though.
I know….I’m still working on that procrastination thing. We’re all a work in progress, right? Maybe it’s time to take another crack at it.