Most working actors would jump at the chance for a major role in Hollywood, while some celebrities might make a more careful choice based on production schedule, salary or distribution. Matthew McConaughey, however, decided to star in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” on the advice of a fortune teller.
“I remember thinking about whether or not I was going to do it one night while walking down Sunset Blvd. [in the Los Angeles area] when all of a sudden, this guy comes at me out of nowhere,” he told Vanity Fair in an oral history of the film released Thursday, describing the man as a “puzzle guru.”
“He immediately says, ‘There’s a movie you’re thinking about right now. It’s a romantic comedy. You have to do it or it will be one of the biggest regrets of your life. It’s going to be a blast … and it’s going to make a lot of money,’” McConaughey said.
The actor recalled wondering if the man had been hired by the executives producing the film. However, he told Vanity Fair that he took “more serious consideration” after the meeting and accepted the role of Benjamin Barry the next day.
The 2003 film grossed nearly $178 million worldwide and has since become an acclaimed romantic comedy classic. However, as chronicled in Vanity Fair’s long story, casting the native Texan as Kate Hudson’s love interest presented some challenges.
Director Donald Petrie told his writers that they needed “some kind of subtle explanation” as to why Benjamin had “that Texas accent about him”. They ended up reimagining the character’s father as a “Navy boy” and then cast South Carolina native Celia Weston as his mother.
But even before these considerations, McConaughey had lost the role altogether. Hudson, who was 23 at the time of production, revealed in December that he had to fight to get the part because producer Lynda Obst thought he was too old for the part at 33.
“We had an energy together, I wanted to play with him,” Hudson said. “It felt kinetic. … We like to push each other and I like Matthew’s commitment to everything; it’s all about razors.”
“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” celebrates its 20th anniversary on Tuesday. Petrie and Hudson told Vanity Fair that a sequel is not in the works. And McConaughey said he thinks the original is unique — and he knows exactly why.
“It’s so much fun as an audience member to be in on the joke with one character while the other isn’t,” she told the outlet, adding that the film’s story allows for “so much fun audience engagement and participation.”