Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey [Book Summary – Review]


What does the word “greenlight” mean? In the film industry, getting a green light signifies receiving approval from a studio to proceed with the project you’ve been creating. Essentially, it grants permission to carry on and proceed.

According to Matthew McConaughey, greenlights can be seen everywhere. It can appear as an unexpected gift, an opportunity for a new beginning, or an encouraging pat on one’s back.

Throughout Matthew’s life, he has discovered that by adopting the right mindset and perspective, one can actively develop their personal greenlights. This process begins with what he terms “getting relative with the inevitable.” Acknowledging that certain things in life are unavoidable, not all plans will go well. However, how you respond to difficulties is a matter of personal perspective.

Maintaining a positive attitude enables continuous learning and personal growth, regardless of the situation you are going through.

In this book, you will discover

  • how an evening of vodka tonics played a pivotal role in securing Matthew’s first huge opportunity;
  • how a wet dream brought about significant journeys across the globe; and
  • the circumstances that led Matthew to a wrestling match in Africa.

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Chapter 1 – Tough Love


The McConaughey family has a history of outlaws back in the day. This includes cattle theft, gamblers, and even a bodyguard for Al Capone, the notorious Chicago gangster. Their ancestral roots can be traced from New Orleans to West Virginia, then to Liverpool in England, and back to their homeland of Ireland.

Jim, who is the father of Matthew McConaughey, was born in Louisiana; however, the family eventually stayed in Texas. Jim tried to be wealthy as a pipe salesman in the oil industry. On the other hand, Katy, Matthew’s mother, hailed from Altoona, Pennsylvania, yet she often told everybody she hailed from Trenton, New Jersey. Why can’t she be honest? As she says, “Who would want to be associated with a place known as Altoona?”

Both the mother and father imparted unconventional notions to their kids, and their relationship with one another was notably quarrelsome. However, amidst the conflicts, love always prevailed.

Matthew reminisces about a certain memorable clash that happened among his parents in the year 1974 when he was just five years of age. Jim had only returned home from a lengthy day at work, and since every other person had already eaten, Katy gave him a plate of food she had kept warm in the oven.

When Jim requested more potatoes, Katy responded with, “You sure you need more potatoes, fat guy?” Initially, Jim didn’t react to the taunt. However, Katy persistently teased him, repeatedly referring to him as a “fat guy” and adding big spoonfuls of mashed potatoes to his plate. This continued until Jim, unable to tolerate it any longer, stood up and forcefully threw the table away.

As Jim got close to Katy, he said, “You just can’t let things be, can you, Katy?” However, as he neared her, Katy grabbed the phone and threw it to his face, breaking his nose. She then seized a knife, making threats to cut him “wide open” with it. Despite blood flowing down Jim’s face and onto his shirt, he took a ketchup bottle, holding it like a sword, imitating a matador. Swinging it around, ketchup splattered onto Katy. “Touché!” Jim exclaimed, dancing around the kitchen.

Both of them stalked one another into the room, Katy was covered in ketchup, she dropped the knife, and Jim was stained with blood and ketchup. In a sudden turn of events, they passionately hugged one another. Moments later, they found themselves making love on the floor.

Ultimately, Matthew’s parents went through two divorces, but they remarried each other three times. Jim broke Katy’s middle finger on four separate occasions after she had pointed it in his face. Strangely, this was their unique way of communicating and expressing love for each other.

While Matthew was growing up, he also experienced his share of disciplinary actions, receiving punishments for incidents such as expressing hatred toward one of his two brothers or uttering the words “I can’t.” These experiences imparted crucial lessons and values, teaching him the importance of not hating and never uttering the word you can’t.


Chapter 2 – Outlaw Logic


When Matthew was in seventh grade, he wished to partake in a poetry competition. Instead of submitting his work, his mother suggested he submit a poem written by Ann Ashford. Before doing so, he needed to comprehend and appreciate the poem. According to his mother’s perspective, as soon as a person relished and understood a poem, it became their own. What if they detected that he wasn’t the one who wrote it? The worst outcome would be losing the award, which was deemed unimportant. Interestingly, Matthew emerged victorious in the competition by using the Ashford poem.

This type of reasoning may appear weird; however, it aligns with the way Katy McConaughey was brought up. Having faced numerous unfair situations, she had to formulate her own set of values, which Matthew refers to as outlaw logic. In a sense, her other reality served as preparation for the creative storytelling Matthew would later engage in as an actor.

Matthew together with his brothers were brought up with this outlaw logic; however, his father’s version of it was even more intense. According to him, each boy had to confront their father at a certain point to prove their manhood.

This confrontation came for Mike, Matthew’s eldest brother at the age of 22. Following in their father’s footsteps, at that age, Mike had become the top pipe salesman for the company. One night, after both of them have been drinking in the barn, their father proposed the idea of “rollin’ pipe” – a term used for stealing pipe from a competitor’s yard during the middle of the night. The twist was that their father wanted to target Don Knowles, one of Mike’s top accounts.

Mike didn’t accept, despite that, Jim, their father wasn’t ready to accept defeat easily. If Mike believed he could defy his father’s wishes, he would have to face him physically.

Mike was reluctant to engage in a fight – considering his five-foot-ten, 180-pound stature compared to Jim’s six-foot-four, 265-pounds – Mike found himself with little choice after his father landed a direct punch to his jaw. Lying on the barn floor, Mike saw a two-by-four plank of wood, which he took and threw to the side of his father’s head. Unconscious, with blood coming out from his ears, Jim retaliated with another powerful punch that put Mike sprawling back onto the floor.

At this point, Mike grabbed a handful of dirt and splashed it into his dad’s face. Despite being temporarily blinded, Jim remained prepared to fight. Inquiring about his son who refused to engage in pipe theft with him, Mike cautioned Jim that he would use the two-by-four again if he persisted. However, Jim continued to provoke him. As anticipated, Mike struck his father once more, and it was against his head. It was just after this that Jim got up, wiped the tears away from his eyes, and embraced Mike. From that point forward, they regarded each other as equals.

Chapter 3 – Accepting Loneliness


Matthew experienced a winning streak in the year 1988. He earned the title of Most Handsome in his class, and he was dating the most beautiful girls from both his school and also from his neighboring town. As a senior in high school, everything seemed to be going well.

Each morning, he would drive his pickup truck into the school parking lot, bringing entertainment to his schoolmates. The truck was equipped with a megaphone in the front grille, he would sit back and make comments like, “Check out the stylish jeans Cathy Cook is wearing today; looks great!”

However, his life took a different path as soon as he finished high school. Seeking adventure, Matthew decided to join the Rotary Club and go to Australia for one year-long as an exchange student.

Right from the start, there were ominous vibes. Upon getting to the Sydney airport, he was welcomed by the Dooley family: Norvel Dooley, the head of the family, together with his wife Marjorie, and one of their two sons, Michael. While Norvel took them home from the airport, Matthew’s expectations were consistently modified. He initially thought the Dooley household was in Sydney; however, immediately the city’s skyline was disappearing in the rearview mirror.

Initially, Norvel mentioned that their home was in Gosford. However, as soon as Sydney had disappeared, the beaches of Gosford disappeared too. Norvel then mentioned to Matthew that Gosford was considered morally lax, which led them to reside in Toukley for a more nice country lifestyle.

Surprisingly, Norvel continued driving. Norvel said Toukley is a nice place; however, it, was somewhat larger than their preference. Eventually, the beaches and signs of civilization vanished, with the last sign indicating Warnervale, boasting a population of 305. Upon reaching the Dooley household, they didn’t see any houses. Norvel enthusiastically welcomed Matthew, saying, “Welcome to Australia, Matthew. You are going to love it.” In reality, the one year turned out to be a nightmare. But, it remains an ordeal that Matthew is still grateful for even up till now.

Australia subjected Matthew to a level of loneliness and isolation he had never encountered before. Despite this, he had committed to the Rotary Club to complete the entire year, having even shaken hands on the agreement, and he was determined not to break his promise.

Matthew persevered through the challenging experience. For him to do that, he recognized the necessity to have a structure. Therefore, he pushed himself, by adopting a vegetarian lifestyle and practicing abstinence. Intriguingly, he even contemplated the possibility of embracing the idea of being a monk and committing his life to releasing Nelson Mandela.

This was a circumstance different from anything he had experienced before; however, Matthew successfully navigated through the entire year. It took some time for him to understand; however, the hardship and isolation in Australia eventually led to a positive experience. This journey compelled him to introspect, discovering his true self beyond the influences of relationships, family, and fame. Retrospectively, he acknowledges that the trip played a crucial role in shaping the person he has become.

Chapter 4 – Career Changes


Upon returning from Australia, Matthew had his eyes set on Dallas, specifically considering Southern Methodist University as his next significant life step. However, his father persistently questioned his choice, “Are you certain? How about being a Longhorn”? He was referring to the mascot of the University of Texas at Austin 

Although Matthew had submitted his application to UT Austin, he was leaning towards a legal career during that moment, believing that Dallas would offer more opportunities in various law firms. His father continued to inquire about the University of Texas. Again, Pat his brother contacted him questioning him on the same thing. But, this time around, Pat put more insight into the matter. UT was a state school and Southern Methodist University was private, and their father was facing financial challenges due to the fall in the oil business. Opting for a state school like UT would be more financially feasible.

Pat also enthusiastically endorsed Austin, describing it as a welcoming place where you could enter a bar with flip-flops and find yourself seated next to a cowboy, a lesbian, and a Native American, all while being served drinks by a short person. “It’s your type of town,” Pat said to him. With this new information, Matthew’s decision was made.

Two years later, Matthew found himself less enthused about pursuing a career in law. The realization dawned on him that with the extensive education and experience required, his twenties would pass away before his law career even took off.

Fortunately, his friend Robb Bindler introduced another idea. Robb, having read Matthew’s short stories, proposed that he explore film school. Initially, the idea seemed nearly weird and self-indulgent, but it gradually took root in Matthew’s mind. He eventually had to call his father to tell him.

It wasn’t an easy phone call. Matthew moved around, contemplating what to say and when to say it. Finally settling on 7:30 p.m., a time when his dad would have finished having his dinner and be unwinding with a cocktail in front of the television, Matthew prepared to share the news.

Anxious and sweating, he dialed his number at 7:36 p.m. His father said, “Hey little buddy, what’s happening?.” Taking a deep breath, he told him what was going on. Law school simply didn’t feel like the right path, and he desired to attend film school. After five tense seconds of silence, a calm and curious voice broke through the phone. Contrary to Matthew’s fears, his dad wasn’t upset; he just wanted assurance that this was genuinely what his son wanted. Matthew affirmed his decision. “Well… Don’t half-ass it,” his dad said.

It turned out to be the ideal response, a resounding green light for Matthew’s new path.

Chapter 5 – The First Break


Upon starting film school at UT Austin, Matthew could sense the difference. At UT Austin, grades held little relevance in the work search. He knew he had to do something to get the attention of people.

Despite not showing up for classes, he was determined and dedicated from the beginning. He secured representation signed with a local talent agency and secured a few small roles. However, it was an opportunity that brought him into the spotlight. 

Mathew usually visited the Hyatt Hotel, and he has a friend Sam working at the bar, and Sam gave him drinks for free. One evening, Sam tipped him off about a man at the bar who was in town to produce a movie set to be shot in Austin. That man turned out to be Don Phillips.

Don liked playing golf and he enjoys vodka tonics, these were two things Matthew liked as well. Matthew had a drinking session with Don. After a few hours, the Hyatt staff had to lead them out. Then they got into the cab after that, sharing a joint and it was at that point  Don asked the question, telling Matthew about a role in the movie he was working on that seemed made for him. Don said, “Just come to this address tomorrow morning and take the script.”

The film in question was “Dazed and Confused,” a now-adored movie that was written and directed by Richard Linklater. Matthew McConaughey was cast for the role of Wooderson, a gu around twenty-something who still lingers in town, enjoying parties with high schoolers. In the first script, Wooderson was only given three scenes; however, this changed on Matthew’s first day at the scene.

Upon Matthew’s arrival, he wore his Nugent T-shirt, a black panther tattoo on his forearm, and had his 1970s beard. Linklater examined him and was thrilled. He then said, “This is good, this is Wooderson.”. Immediately, the director began to get new ideas. Matthew and Linklater had what the author terms “verbal ping-pong,” a dynamic they have continued in their long-enduring friendship.

Immediately, Linklater proposes a new scene for Wooderson, where he attempts to woo a redheaded smart girl. Curious about Wooderson’s preferences, Linklater asked Matthew if he thought Wooderson would like that kind of girl. Matthew’s response was, “Sure, man, Wooderson likes all kinds of chicks.” Ultimately, what initially comprised three small scenes evolved into a three-week job for Matthew.

During the first week of the three weeks, Matthew received the startling information that his father had passed away. Jim McConaughey woke up one morning and had sexual intercourse with his wife. Unfortunately, he experienced a heart attack and passed away after reaching climax. While it may seem strange, he had informed his sons, “When I pass away, I am going to be makin’ love to your mother.” And that’s precisely how it transpired.

Chapter 6 – Stardom


While “Dazed and Confused” played a role in getting Matthew into Hollywood, it was another movie that brought him to stardom. This film was “A Time to Kill,” an adaptation of a book by John Grisham book and it was directed by Joel Schumacher.

At first, Schumacher considered Matthew for the role of a Ku Klux Klan leader. However, Matthew was determined to secure the main character of the lawyer, Jake Brigance. Matthew’s had thorough preparation, including reading the book the movie was based on. Even though Schumacher liked Matthew’s boldness and his idea, he was aware that the studio might not agree with the casting.

Unexpectedly, the studio’s original choice for the male lead, Woody Harrelson, was removed from consideration. This sudden decision followed a real-life murder by a man and woman in Mississippi, where the perpetrators claimed to be stirred by the film “Natural Born Killers,” in which Harrelson played one half of a serial-killing couple.

Seizing the opportunity, Schumacher decided to shoot a test scene with Matthew, intending to present it to the studio heads. While it was a hard shot, Matthew was keen to demonstrate that he was the right person for that part. The test scene focused on the climactic final summation in the courtroom, a pivotal and nerve-wracking moment. Despite being nervous, Matthew was well-prepared and knew his lines by heart.

When Schumacher instructed him to start at his own pace, he delved into the scene, hitting all the right beats, exactly what he was meant to do. However, it lacked the wow factor. Recognizing this, Schumacher encouraged Matthew to deviate from the script, urging him to use his own words and address the imaginary jurors as if it were his case. The director essentially gave him the green light.

Schumacher’s decision proved to be a brilliant choice. Matthew seized the opportunity, pouring his entire self into the performance. The intensity was such that he became sweaty and unwell by the end. After two weeks, Schumacher contacted him, giving him the role.

This role marked a pivotal moment in Matthew’s life. Following the premiere, Matthew could no longer stroll down the street incognito to grab his favorite tuna fish sandwich with more pickles and ketchup. On that particular Monday, everyone passing, except for three babies and a blind man, stared at him as he headed to the sandwich shop. Matthew had undeniably become popular.

Chapter 7 -Embarking on a Journey


During the week before the opening of A Time to Kill, almost all the scripts Matthew liked were unattainable. It was his choice to make. While this might seem like a dream coming to pass, the sudden fame can distort one’s perception of reality. To remain grounded, certain steps may be necessary to prevent drifting into the unknown.

For Matthew, the solution was a pilgrimage to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, a holy place situated in a secluded area of New Mexico. Described as a place for “readjusting mindset,” it perfectly aligned with what he wanted. 

To reach the monastery, he embarked on a thirteen-and-a-half-mile walk, arriving at the front door where he was welcomed by Brother Andre, who then told him that the monastery was a place for every traveler. Yet, it was Brother Christian who showed to be the most attentive listener, precisely what Matthew needed at that point.

Matthew confided in Brother Christian and told him the challenges of fame were hindering his ability to uphold the virtues of the good man he aspired to be. Feelings of desire and objectification were surfacing, causing a disconnection from his past, and unable to notice the right direction forward. In essence, he was lost.

After pouring out his heart, Matthew found himself crying, expecting Brother Christian to offer strict words or harsh judgment. To his surprise, Brother Christian responded with compassion, listening attentively for more than three hours. Following a long pause, he simply uttered two words: “Me too.”

Although it was not impactful advice, these words served as a crucial green light for Matthew. At times, the power of compassionate understanding is enough. Understanding that one is not alone can be the peace that prevents us from falling apart at the seams.

It would still take some time for Matthew to grasp how to remain focused on what is truly important. However, one early method he adopted to remain grounded was to embrace mobility. He purchased a 28-foot mobile house and spent three years on the road, going to different destinations ranging from Canada to Guatemala, together with his dog, Ms. Hud.

If there was a desire to attend a concert by The Cult in Detroit the following week, they hit the road. If Roger Clemens had a game in New York on Saturday, they were there. If he secured a job on a Steven Spielberg movie being filmed in Rhode Island, he could park the Airstream and trek to work. Yet, he also had the freedom to veer off the road into a trailer park in western Montana, enter a bar, and enjoy a lively night taking tequila, saying stories, and playing dice games with individuals who could keep him grounded and honest.

Chapter 8 – Dragons Slayer


Matthew ventured into the realm of romantic comedy by co-starring alongside Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner during the early 2000s. The film proved to be a success, breaking a streak of underwhelming movies like EdTV and Contact.

Matthew relocated to the iconic Chateau Marmont Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, a legendary place for numerous artists,  rock stars, and actors over the years. He accumulated a running tab of $120,000 and began driving a Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle. Following a series of indulgent flings, relationships, and “transactions,” Matthew found himself once more pondering the meaning of it all. While some might label it an existential crisis, Matthew prefers the call it an “existential challenge,” a test he was more than willing to deal with.

Luckily, Matthew got the ideal role to help him navigate through this phase. The film was Reign of Fire, a departure from romantic comedy. He played the role of Denton Van Zan, and, in Matthew’s words, was an “apocalyptic badass dragon slayer.”

For his role, Matthew opted to completely shave his head, driven by two reasons. Firstly, he believed it suited the character, and secondly, he had been experiencing a receding hairline and wanted to apply a serum, Regenix, which was purported to be more effective on a bald head. Additionally, he secluded himself for two months on his brother’s ranch in West Texas, adhering to a daily four-step regimen aimed at fortifying his body and mind.

This routine started with a double shot of tequila every morning. Matthew believed that Van Zan, the character, would require his own “dragon breath” to confront the mythical creature (dragon). The second step involved a barefoot five-mile run across the Texas desert, emphasizing the need for toughened soles, mirroring Van Zan’s requirements. The third step was to overcome the fear of heights by standing on the tip of the barn’s rooftop. Finally, step four involved getting used to dealing with large beasts, such as dragons and he did this by practicing with sleeping cows during the night.

As one might anticipate, this routine didn’t last for a long period. On the sixth day in the morning, the tequila-induced gagging, and barefoot running resulted in painful blisters, and attempts to approach the roof’s edge proved futile regardless of how hard he tried. The encounter with a cow on the ninth day left Matthew with a concussion, he knew not to do that again.

After enduring the physical pain and seclusion of his 60-day dragon-slayer training, coupled with the challenging conditions of filming in winter in Ireland, Matthew felt physically bruised but spiritually strengthened. The process aided him in shedding the trappings of vanity that had overwhelmed him, leaving him with a greater sense of control over his destiny. It was time to embark on a new chapter.

Chapter 9 – Pursuing the Dream


In Matthew’s life, he has experienced three instances of non-sexual wet dreams. Each of these dreams came during moments when his life required fixing, prompting him to embark on introspective journeys.

The first one happened in the year 1994, shortly after the sudden fame resulting from “A Time to Kill.” In this dream, Matthew was floating in the Amazon River, surrounded by anacondas and pythons. Sharks, crocodiles, and piranhas lurked close by. Along the river’s edge stood an unending line of indigenous Africans.

Although the dream only lasted eleven seconds, its impact was powerful, nearly similar to a nightmarish. However, it wasn’t just a mere wet dream, it served as a crucial greenlight. Matthew promptly looked through an atlas in search of the Amazon River. Initially, he looked for Africa searching for the people he noticed from his dream. After a couple of futile hours, he found out that the Amazon River was located in South America.

Immediately, he sensed that this was the destination calling him. He hastily packed some clothes into a backpack, included a camera, a journal, and a dose of Ecstasy, and embarked on a three-week journey to Peru. Something in him was prompting him to believe that floating in the Amazon was what he needed to experience.

On his way, he hiked the Andes, explored Machu Picchu with the music of John Mellencamp playing on his Walkman, and eventually settled in a camp in Iquitos, a place recognized as the “Peruvian capital of the Amazon.”

During this phase of his life, Matthew felt dissatisfied with the person he had turned into. Thus, while seated in his tent, he questioned every aspect of his identity. He started a ritualistic process of taking off his clothes and also symbolic items he was putting on such as his Texas flag amulet, Celtic knot pendant, and two rings he had received from his Mom and dad.

No identity or pride or protection. Naked. He struck himself in the face, he was drenched in a cold sweat. He vomited until there was nothing left in his stomach. Subsequently, he lost consciousness. Upon waking up the next morning, he felt revitalized. Putting on some clothes, making tea, and heading out for a walk, he sensed a newfound energy coursing through his body.

While navigating a corner in the jungle, he stumbled upon a big, vibrant ball of neon colors lying above the muddy floor– a breathtaking spectacle. After a few moments, he found out that it was a mass gathering of swarming butterflies.

Looking at this extraordinary scene, a voice was heard in Matthew’s head saying: “All I need is what I can see, everything I can see is right in front of me.”

For the first time during the trip, he was no longer feeling anxious anticipation; everything began to move at a slower pace. He gazed at the sky and expressed gratitude. Lowering his eyes to the ground, he noticed what awaited him. Just beyond the butterflies lay the Amazon River. After, while floating in it, he observed what resembled a mermaid’s tail waving past him, moving downstream.

Chapter 10 – Embracing the Challenge


Matthew experienced his second wet dream in the year 1999, five years after the first one. This happened when he was in Ireland after finishing the filming of Reign of Fire when he experienced the same thing. The dream featured familiar elements such as floating in the Amazon, crocodiles, snakes, crocodiles, and a continuous line of indigenous Africans, lasting eleven seconds.

Matthew was sure this time that he needed to visit Africa. He had limited knowledge about the huge continent; however, he started checking his atlas and he came across clues while listening to the music of Ali Farka Touré, an African bluesman. He dropped the atlas and took the case of the CD examining the liner notes. Niafunké, Mali, was his destination.

Taking a one-way flight to Bamako, Mali’s capital, Matthew got the help of a guide named Issa to navigate the Niger River to Niafunké. Upon arrival, he met Ali Farka at the home of his second wife, shared lunch, and listened to some of his songs. However, when they went their separate ways, Matthew questioned if this was truly his last destination. 

Unexpectedly, Issa introduced him to the Dogon, a mystical people in Mali known for getting celestial wisdom from the stars since long before contemporary astronomy. Residing in villages along the Niger River in a spot known as the Bandiagara Escarpment, Issa suggested, “I think this is a good spot for you to visit.” Matthew accepted.

It’s important to note that during this journey, Matthew operated on incognito. He introduced himself as David, which locals translated to Daouda, claiming to be a writer and a boxer. However, he didn’t expect that news of a formidable white man in the village would spread upon reaching Bandiagara. Instantly, Matthew found himself unexpectedly challenged by Michel, the local champion wrestler. He said, “Oh Shit.”

Matthew couldn’t decline even as he was standing before Michel who had a broad chest and wore a burlap sack around his waist, it started. The crowd immediately gathered, enthusiastically anticipating the showdown as both men got into a big dirt pit. The village chief acted as the referee, the match was on.

The contest went for two rounds, during which both participants were put to the ground a couple of times. At a certain point, Matthew executed a classic WWF tactic: the Boston Crab, positioning himself on his opponent’s back with both hands gripping the chin, pulling the head backward. However, Michel managed to escape, flipping Matthew to the ground and locking him in a scissor grip between his robust legs. The grappling continued until both men were completely tired, prompting the village chief to conclude the match by lifting both their arms in the air.

Although it was evident that the match ended in a stalemate, Matthew was astonished by the crowd’s chanting of “Daouda! Daouda!” As the village chief clarified later, Matthew had already secured victory the moment he took the challenge.

Chapter 11 – Switching Roles


Five more years elapsed before Matthew experienced his third wet dream  In the year 2005, Matthew had starred in a series of romantic comedies. While he harbored no animosity toward this genre, he couldn’t deny that it fell short of providing creative fulfillment. This juncture marked a turning point in his life.

In a nearly predictable manner, the third wet dream occurred, but with a distinctive twist. In this dream, Matthew found himself at the age of 88, seated on a porch overlooking a vast horseshoe driveway. Twenty-two women, accompanied by 88 children, came. He gave birth to all these children, and they gathered around him for a family photo. As the camera captured the moment, he experienced the climax and woke up

This dream served as a reminder to Matthew of his long-standing desire to become a father, a certainty he had held throughout his life. Now in his mid-30s, he felt it was the right time. However, he decided to adopt a new method. Rather than actively seeking his ideal partner, he resolved to stop searching and let things unfold naturally. True to this mindset, Camila entered his life.

It was a classic love-at-first-sight scenario in a crowded restaurant when Matthew spotted her. It took place in the bustling Hyde Club on Sunset Boulevard. When Matthew saw her, he was determined that he needed to see her, he approached her table and offered to make the perfect margarita.

As their first date unfolded, Matthew became convinced that he had seen the mythical mermaid who had once waved to him in the Amazon River. Somehow, she had navigated her way from those waters to the Pacific and eventually Hollywood. A decade and a half later, she remains the only woman he desires to wake up to every morning.

With Camila as his companion, Matthew decided to redefine his profession. He informed his agent that he was no longer interested in romantic comedies and had no intention of seeing other scripts for such films in the future.

This decision carried risks since Hollywood tends to overlook those who turn down a lot of offers; however, there was a clear conviction that it was the necessary course of action. Despite tempting offers exceeding $14 million for lead roles in romantic comedies, Matthew stood by his decision. Consequently, the offers ceased completely.

Matthew found himself without work for two years. However, during this time, he embraced fatherhood twice, keeping himself occupied. Ultimately, Hollywood began to perceive him as a refreshing and promising presence. It all began with roles in “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “Killer Joe.” Subsequently, his longtime friend Richard Linklater offered him a part in “Bernie.” Jeff Nichols tailored a role in “Mud” specifically for him, and Steven Soderbergh cast him in “Magic Mike.”

People started speaking about the “McConaissance.” Interestingly, many were unaware that Matthew himself originated the word during an interview with MTV.

Chapter 12 – Wild and Crucial


“Dallas Buyers Club” stood apart from other films. In 2007, Matthew came across the script and got attached to acting as the lead role of Ron Woodroof, a real-life figure who had devised his program for distributing HIV medication. However, it was not until January 2012 that production eventually progressed, when the Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée got involved.

Vallée initially had reservations about Matthew’s fit for the role, given his well-known physique. How could he convincingly portray a man with Stage 4 HIV? Yet, Matthew assured him that he would handle it.

They devised a plan to be ready by October 2012. Leading up to production, for five months, Matthew aimed to lose two and a half pounds each week. His daily diet consisted of three egg whites for breakfast, while lunch and dinner consisted of five ounces of fish and one cup of steamed vegetables. On a positive note, he was allowed as much wine as he desired.

The diet achieved the intended results, and Matthew steadily lost pounds each week. At 157 pounds, he filmed a few days’ worth of scenes for Martin Scorsese’s film, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” portraying a broker named Mark Hanna. Hanna’s success secret involved cocaine and prostitutes. This was what he required to know to embody the character authentically. He went off-script during a scene with Leonardo DiCaprio, delivering what he describes as a “lunatic-to-the-marvelous musical riff-rap.”

For the role of Ron Woodroof, Matthew gained more direct insight. Woodroof’s family graciously welcomed him into their home, engaged in conversations, and even shared Woodroof’s diary and ten hours of voice recordings. These materials provided a profound understanding of Ron.

With Vallée’s sensitive direction and the wealth of information in his reach, Matthew delivered a performance that garnered praise and awards. The awards season coincided with the airing of a new episode of “True Detective” every Sunday night, where Matthew immersed himself in one of his best roles, the remarkable detective he ever came across Rustin Cohle. This series also provided him the opportunity to collaborate with his close friend and “brother from another mother,” Woody Harrelson.

At last, Matthew discovered enduring fulfillment in his career. Delving deep, he crafted different characters from within, narrating stories that were wild and crucial. He positioned himself in the right spot to secure greenlights and maximize their potential

According to Matthew, the key to his success lies in embracing the inevitable. For everyone, the certainty is that this journey will eventually end at a point. However, how you live your life is your choice – it is relative.

That sums up Matthew’s journey thus far. Now, it’s your turn to make the most of yours.

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey Book Review


Matthew McConaughey was brought up by his parents in an unconventional way in East Texas, his parents adopted what he terms as outlaw logic. Despite this, they were supportive of his wish to pursue a creative lifestyle. After a change in path to attend film school during college, Matthew’s breakthrough came with his role in Dazed and Confused, and he achieved significant success with his part in A Time to Kill. Coping with sudden fame proved challenging for Matthew; however, after some introspection and pursuing prophetic wet dreams, he discovered possibilities to drop vanity and concentrate on what truly mattered. With support from his wife, Camila, he ultimately learned to prioritize family, reshaping his profession away from romantic comedies to interesting and original dramatic roles.

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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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