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Matthew McConaughey Explains How Famous 'Alright Alright Alright' Line Came About In Dazed And Confused

Matthew McConaughey Explains How Famous 'Alright Alright Alright' Line Came About In Dazed And Confused

Matthew McConaughey has revealed how one of his most famous on-screen catchphrases came to be, 27 years on from his turn as Wooderson in Richard Linklater's coming-of-age film Dazed and Confused.

McConaughey, 50, starred in the 1993 flick as David Wooderson, a man who's in his early 20s but hangs around with high school students.

While his character had many quotable lines, his simplest was by far his best, with McConaughey still known for rolling up in a car and saying in his trademark drawl: "Alright, alright, alright."

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In a preview clip for NBC News' Sunday Today With Willie Geist, the actor explained how the catcphrase came to be.

Credit: Gramercy Pictures
Credit: Gramercy Pictures

"The first three words I ever said on film," he said.

"There was not a word written for that entire scene. That's what [David] Wooderson is about, his car.

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"And I said, 'Well, I'm in my 1970 Chevelle. There's one.'

"I said, 'Wooderson's about getting high.' I said, 'Well, Slater's riding shotgun and he's always got a doobie rolled up.'

"I said, 'Wooderson's about rock and roll.' I said, 'I got Ted Nugent's 'Stranglehold' in the 8-track. Here's three.'

"And then I heard, 'Action,' and I looked up: 'Alright, alright, alright.'"

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Credit: Gramercy Pictures
Credit: Gramercy Pictures

After all these years of having the line quoted to him, McConaughey said he doesn't mind.

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He added: "I hear it, I get pictures, people have it tattooed in very sensational places on their body."

It's no surprise, really, given that Dazed and Confused has such a huge cult following to this day - having helped pave the way for the many slacker films that followed.

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And while the film is riddled with now-famous names - including the likes of Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Renee Zellweger and Milla Jovovich - there was arguably no greater standout than Matthew McConaughey and his smooth-talking big kid Wooderson.

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.

"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.

McConaughey in 2019. Credit: PA
McConaughey in 2019. Credit: PA
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"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.'

"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 s***.'"

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 moustache?' 'Well, kind of...' 'That'll be good, a sleazy kind of moustache, 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."

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film, Matthew McConaughey

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Jess Hardiman

Jess is a journalist at LADbible who graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Film Studies, English Language and Linguistics - indecisiveness at its finest, right there. She also works for FOODbible and its sister page Seitanists, which are both a safe haven for her to channel a love for homemade pasta, fennel and everything else in between. You can contact Jess at [email protected]