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McConaughey turned down $15 million to remake an iconic TV series

Before the McConnaissance, Matthew McConaughey was offered an obscene paycheck to remake an 80s TV series, but instead he chose indie projects and it paid off.

Matthew McConaughey and Magnum PI

Matthew McConaughey has had rollercoaster of a career, which saw him breakthrough in Dazed and Confused and Time to Kill, before spending most of the 2000s doing critically-panned rom-coms, then making an abrupt about-turn in the 2010s which was so successful, it coined the term McConnaissance.

The course-correction of his career was part of a very deliberate strategy for Matthew McConaughey, and just as important as the projects that he said ‘Yes’ to, were the ones that he turned down. When he was in his career doldrums in 2008, he made the surprising and brave decision to turn down a movie remake of the 80s TV series Magnum PI, for which he was offered a $15 million payday – according to THR.

Instead, McConaughey chose lots of small projects including The Lincoln Lawyer, Killer Joe, The Paperboy, Mud, and one of his best movies, Magic Mike, before accepting the role in Dallas Buyers Club (2013) – for which he was reportedly paid less than $200k – winning him the Oscar. He followed this up with Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, and the highly critically-acclaimed TV series True Detective.

2011-2014 was a career peak for the Texan actor, and one he achieved by saying no to the big bucks. It’s interesting that a movie version of Magnum PI was being mooted in 2008, as Michael Mann‘s Miami Vice was released in 2006 and was barely profitable. It received a critical drubbing at the time, but has since been met with new appreciation by younger critics.

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Matthew McConaughey’s next project could be a series in Taylor Sheridan’s ever-expanding Yellowstone universe, as he’s been tapped to be the next big star at the center of the western empire – once Kevin Costner finally gets to leave.