Most working actors would jump at the chance of a major Hollywood role, while some celebs might instead make a more careful choice based on the production schedule, salary or cast. Matthew McConaughey, however, decided to star in “How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days” because of a fortuneteller’s advice.
“I remember considering whether I was going to do it or not one night while on a walk down Sunset Boulevard [in the Los Angeles area] when suddenly, this guy comes up out of nowhere to me,” he told Vanity Fair in an oral history of the film published Thursday, describing the man as a “fortune teller guru.”
“He immediately goes, ‘There’s a movie you’re considering right now. It’s a romantic comedy. You have to do this or it will be one of the biggest regrets of your life. It is going to be a blast … and it is going to make a bunch of money,’” McConaughey said.
The actor recalled wondering whether the man was hired by executives producing the film. Despite this, he told Vanity Fair that he undertook “more serious consideration” after the encounter and accepted the role of Benjamin Barry the very next day.
The 2003 film went on to gross nearly $178 million worldwide and has since become a cherished rom-com classic. As chronicled in Vanity Fair’s extensive history, however, casting the native Texan as Kate Hudson’s love interest provided some challenges.
Director Donald Petrie told his writers they needed “some kind of subtle explanation” as to why Benjamin had “that Texas twang about him.” They wound up reimagining the character’s father as a “Navy guy” and then cast South Carolina native Celia Weston as his mom.
But even before such considerations, McConaughey had almost missed out on the role entirely. Hudson, who was 23 at the time of production, revealed in December that she had to fight for him to get the part — as producer Lynda Obst thought he was too old for it 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 just love Matthew’s commitment to everything; he’s razor-focused.”
“How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days” celebrates its 20th anniversary Tuesday. Petrie and Hudson told Vanity Fair that there’s no sequel in the works. And McConaughey said he believes the original stands alone — and knows exactly why.
“It’s really fun as the audience member to be in on the joke with one character while the other one is not,” he told the outlet, adding that the film’s plot allows for “so much fun audience engagement and participation.”