On Monday, the entertainment world marked the sad passing of filmmaker Joel Schumacher. The director died at the age of 80 following a year-long battle with cancer, prompting many in Hollywood to pay tribute to the man had an extensive career in entertainment, including Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, but now Matthew McConaughey is reflecting on Schumacher's career noting that he owes his career to the filmmaker thanks to his casing in A Time to Kill.
McConaughey told Variety in a statement that Schumacher took a chance on him for A Time to Kill and, more than that, went out of his way to ensure that should the actor not end up cast for the film, the attempt wouldn't end up causing him issues in the industry going forward.
"Joel not only took a chance on me, he fought for me," McConaughey said. "Knowing the studio might never approve a relatively unknown like myself for the lead in A Time to Kill, he set up a secret screen test for me on a Sunday morning in a small unknown studio because as he stated, 'Even if you do great, you may not get the part, so I don't want the industry to ever think you screen tested and DID NOT get the job.'"
While McConaughey had roles in Dazed and Confused, Angels in the Outfield, and Boys on the Side, his role as Jake Brigance in 1996's A Time to Kill was his big break, with the courtroom crime drama going on to be a critical and box office success. In his statement, the actor noted that Schumacher's influence didn't just stop with taking a chance to get him cast. The filmmaker also was supportive and offered McConaughey advice as well.
"I remember on days where I would be having a tough time on the set, he would always remind me with the most simple and sound advice a director could give a young man, 'Hey, you are Jake Brigance. You, Matthew, are the character,'" he said. "I don't see how my career could have gone to the wonderful places it has if it wasn't for Joel Schumacher believing in me back then."
And McConaughey isn't the only person who has reflected on how Schumacher impacted their career. Seal also paid tribute to Schumacher on Monday, sharing about how the filmmaker's decision to use his song, "Kiss from a Rose", in Batman Forever saved his career. The song, which Seal described as having been a "failure" prior to Schumacher, ended up winning multiple Grammys all because of Schumacher's decision to included it in Batman Forever.
"I wanted to tell you that story because I didn't think a lot of people knew that. It's the song that has pretty much defined my career and I am perhaps most popular or most known by it," Seal said on Instagram. "So, I owe my career I guess, in large part, to Joel Schumacher, who took a chance....I just want to say I love you Joel. I thank you very much for everything that you've done for me and the joy and the love that you've brought to millions of people all around the world. One day we'll all meet again back home, I love you Joel."