Matthew McConaughey's 'Dazed And Confused' Audition Is Still Incredible As Film Turns 25
We've seen many coming-of-age slacker flicks in our time, but among all the whimsical box office hits featuring pretty boys like Ashton Kutcher, there was one that became memorable for all the right reasons - Richard Linklater's 1993 masterpiece Dazed and Confused.
Giving us a much gnarlier ride than many of its successors could even come close to - thanks to a triple hit of weed, rock and roll and excessive facial hair - the film was aptly set in the haze of the mid 70s, as a group of teens soak up their last day of school.
While the film is riddled with now-famous names - including the likes of Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Renee Zellweger and Milla Jocovich, whose careers were thrust forward off the back of it - there was arguably no greater standout than Matthew McConaughey, who played smooth-talking big kid Wooderson.
Wooderson is effortlessly cool. We're drawn to him in spite of the fact that, in a wider sense he's some older loser who's hanging out with high school kids. We can see his appeal, even though he's rocking a creepy moustache and haircut AND salmon pink jeans. We don't get it, but we like it.
Speaking to the Georgia Straight a few years back, Linklater explained that the role was actually combination of both his script and McConaughey's characterisation - the actor's ad libbing having even apparently spawned Wooderson's timeless 'Alright, alright, alright', catchphrase.
But it wasn't an instant sell for Linklater, who worried McConaughey was a bit too fresh-faced - that is, of course, until the audition came.
"When I first met Matthew, he came in and he's, like, this really good-looking, clean-cut guy, and that threw me off, cause I never saw Wooderson like that," Linklater explained.
"I was, like, 'No, you're not right for this part'. I'm thinking this after just meeting him, and he looked at me, and he goes, 'Hey, I'm not this guy, but I know this guy. I know this guy'. He's from Longview, I'm from Huntsville, these are East Texas towns. 'I know this guy'.
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"And then he did his audition and he kind of, like, fell into this character. His eyes turned into little quarter slots - he's like, 'Hey, man, you got a joint?' And I was, like, 'Holy shit'."
Linklater continued: "He became that guy. Holy moley. And I always say Matthew's a character actor. I met him as a character actor. He was too good looking for the part, but we were long enough away from shooting that I said, 'Okay, don't cut your hair, don't shave, can you grow a mustache?' 'Well, kind of...' 'That'll be good, a sleazy kind of mustache, we're gonna add tattoos'.
"You know, we had to, kinda, grodey him up for that character. But nobody can ever say Matthew got cast because he was a pretty boy, cause that's not what I was looking for, for that particular part."
Wooderson reportedly only had three lines in the entire film when Linklater drafted up the script. After seeing McConaughey's potential, that soon changed.
While McConaughey's made a few duff moves in his time (namely that spate of 00s chick flicks like Failure to Launch and Fool's Gold), more recently he's been flexing his muscles as a more serious actor through the likes of Interstellar, Dallas Buyer's Club and TV series True Detective. Then there's also that incredible turn as Mark Hanna in The Wolf of Wall Street, which saw him completely steal the scene.
Basically, the dude can do it all - and, boy, has he come a long way from those floppy-haired days of his Wooderson audition.
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