Matthew McConaughey Was Never Supposed To Land His Career-Defining Role in ‘A Time To Kill’ — ‘Let Me Tell You, That Is Never Happening’

by Jeremy Spirogis
Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey’s function in A Time To Kill modified his life perpetually, however he was by no means imagined to get it. When the film was being made within the mid-’90s, he was an unknown actor with few appearing credit to his title.

However, with a little bit of persistence, good timing, and a complete lot of luck, McConaughey managed to land the lead function and turn into the famous person he’s today. 

Matthew McConaughey was initially imagined to be a Klan member in ‘A Time To Kill’

Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock in a scene from the movie ‘A Time To Kill’ | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

RELATED: Matthew McConaughey Recalls Feeling ‘Unbalanced’ After Breakout Role in ‘A Time To Kill’ Brought Overnight Fame

When McConaughey first received concerned with A Time To Kill, he was slated for a a lot smaller function. He had initially been in talks to play the function of a Ku Klux Klan member however had his eyes set on the lead function he would ultimately land. However, the director felt that McConaughey had no likelihood of getting it.

“He starts laughing, he goes, ‘I think that’s a great idea, but let me tell you—that is never happening,” McConaughey stated in a resurfaced 2014 interview with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation

Director Joel Schumacher advised Matthew McConaughey to not get his hopes up after auditioning

Even although director Joel Schumacher laughed McConaughey out of the room initially, he stayed on Schumacher’s thoughts. Not lengthy after, he known as McConaughey in for an audition. 

“It stuck with him, and he called me a few weeks later and said, ‘I would like to screen test you for the role of Jake Brigance.’”

When McConaughey was known as in to audition, Schumacher selected an obscure time and place to host it. Apparently, it was achieved in hopes of defending McConaughey, as a result of an unsuccessful audition would have put a black mark on his fledling profession. After McConaughey completed the audition, Schumacher made positive to remind him that he nonetheless wasn’t going to get the function. 

The stars aligned and Matthew McConaughey landed his main function in ‘A Time To Kill’

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Despite Schumacher’s fixed reminders that he had no likelihood of getting the function, the tides turned for McConaughey. While You Were Sleeping, a movie his co-star Sandra Bullock had beforehand starred in, had a powerful opening, which made the studio extra prepared to signal on an unknown actor like McConaughey. Kevin Spacey, one other one in every of his co-stars, additionally had a venture do properly across the identical time, so abruptly casting McConaughey didn’t appear to be as a lot of a danger. 

Later, whereas he was engaged on one other venture, McConaughey lastly received the decision that he, certainly, received the function. However, there was intense media scrutiny in regards to the determination to solid an unknown actor for such a giant function. McConaughey, nevertheless, allowed all the consideration to roll off of his again.

“Well, I sure didn’t think it was scrutiny at the time,” McConaughey stated. “I remember really laughing when I was in line at the supermarket. And I looked down and I was on two covers of two magazines, and one of them says, ‘Matthew McConaughey saves the movies.’ And I was like [laughs]. And then I said, ‘I’m buying those two magazines.’” 

Matthew McConaughey’s life modified perpetually after ‘A Time To Kill’

After the wildly profitable launch of A Time To Kill, McConaughey’s profile elevated dramatically. He was abruptly solid into the general public eye, and misplaced the anonymity he as soon as loved as a struggling actor. 

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