Matthew McConaughey, who is undergoing a career renaissance of late, says he feels privileged to have been able to turn down work.

The 44-year-old actor, who won a Golden Globe for his performance as an AIDs patient in Dallas Buyers Club, took time out from acting to wait for "grittier" material to come along after a career making rom-coms and action movies.

He told Access Hollywood, "I had a few things going for me. One, I had enough money in my bank account where I could say, 'I'm going to say no to some things that I've been saying yes to', and my rent is going to be paid and the kids are going to eat.

"That was a real privilege to be able to say that at the time, plus I had a first child coming into the world [and I said], 'I'm going to say no to some things for a while'.

"I got down with my wife and said the same thing, I said, 'I don't know how long it's going to be dry', and it did dry out. It dried up for about 18 months to two years."

He added that he doesn't have any regrets about the roles he turned down, "There's nothing in the past that I passed on that I actually regret. There was a rumour that I had Titanic, and turned it down. That was actually false. I don't know why [James] Cameron said that. I never got an official offer."

While he plans to continue with more serious roles, McConaughey did enjoy working on rom-coms, "My career was going fine. I enjoyed my career. I enjoyed romantic comedies. I enjoyed the action comedies.

"I enjoyed the action movies that I was doing. I enjoyed all those. I just wanted to shake up my career, recalibrate, shift gears, and evolve a little bit to do something that was turning me on at this time in my life.

"Call that turning 40 as a man, I don't know. It could be many things. Call it having a family. All of these things add to it."