The 49-year-old actor recent sat down for The Hollywood Reporter’s "Awards Chatter Podcast" where he discussed a few roles he wished he’d gotten back in the day. Among them was the free-spirited Jack Dawson, who Leonardo DiCaprio ended up playing, making him a huge movie star.
“I went and auditioned. I wanted that,” he admitted. “I auditioned with Kate Winslet, had a good audition, walked away from there pretty confident that I had it. I didn't get it. I never got offered that. And as I've said before not even half jokingly if it's true, if that was an offer and it didn't come to me, I've got to go back and go, 'I've got to meet in an alley with that agent.'”
Another role that McConaughey wishes he’d claimed was the lead in 1997’s L.A. Confidential. He admitted that he turned down the role of Ed Exley, an ambitious cop who uncovered a vast conspiracy in 1950s Hollywood. Ultimately the role went to Guy Pierce and the film was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won two.
"I did turn down L.A. Confidential, I think it was the Guy Pierce role,” he stated. “And that's a movie I really, really liked, and that one sticks out to me as one I'm like, 'Ooo man, that would have been a really good one to have been a part of.'"
Between his early years of acclaim and “The McConnaisance,” the leading man also starred in a number of romantic comedies, which he briefly discussed in the interview as well.
"It was fun, it was great pay and I learned that, you know what, these are not the type of movies to dig deep [within one's own experience]," he reminisced on the podcast. "They were 'Saturday characters.' I remember saying, 'I'm gonna give myself another Saturday!'"
"I was looking forward to them. I enjoyed going to work,” he continued. ”I was also living on a beach and going out without my shirt on, just like I did before I was famous. I was living a romantic comedy."
The actor admitted that, after a while, he looked back at his career and wasn’t satisfied with what he saw.
"And I said, 'Well, that's okay, but let's take a pause here and see what we've got to do to try to get some work that is gonna rival the excitement I had in my life at that time,’” he shared.
He went on pursue more ambitious roles, ultimately winning an Oscar for his performance in 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club.