It was the second Matthew McConaughey turned Matthew McConaughey.
The actor, taking part in chilled-out high-school grad Wooderson, leans towards a wall with drink in hand. He asks a present pupil how the most recent crop of freshman women are trying, then applies his Texas drawl to ship a soon-to-be immortal line: “That’s what I really like about these high-school women, man. I grow old, they keep the identical age.”
Watching from the sidelines, the movie’s editor turned to the producer and stated, “This is a film star.”
The film was 1993’s “Dazed and Confused” and the proclamation was particularly daring as a result of McConaughey did not have a very large position. It was simply his first movie. But “Dazed and Confused” supplied a lot of the muse for who he would finally turn out to be in Hollywood.
“This film is his origin story,” says Melissa Maerz, writer of “Alright, Alright, Alright: The Oral History of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused” (Harper), out now.
In 1992, McConaughey was a University of Texas movie pupil who’d been in just a few commercials when “Dazed and Confused” got here to Austin. The film, directed by Richard Linklater, would comply with a gaggle of high-school college students as they get together, smoke pot and hang around on the final day of college in 1976.
Casting director Don Phillips was having a drink at his lodge one night time when the bartender phoned his good friend McConaughey to say he ought to come down and meet the Hollywood participant. He did, and received a job by chatting about golf and sharing a joint with Phillips.
McConaughey primarily based his character of Wooderson, a 20-year-old weirdo nonetheless hanging round with the high-school children, on his older brother, Pat.
“When I used to be 11, his Z28 broke down, so Mama was gonna choose him up from highschool, and I’m at the back of the automobile,” McConaughey says within the guide. “We’re drivin’ round, lookin’ for him, and I look out the again window, and I see this iconic silhouette of this man leanin’ towards the wall, knee kicked up, within the shade, smokin’ a cigarette.”
McConaughey beloved Ted Nugent, so a fancy dress designer took Nugent’s album “Tooth, Fang & Claw” to an area Kinko’s and had a T-shirt switch made from the quilt picture.
McConaughey additionally spawned the film’s everlasting catchphrase, “Alright, alright, alright,” which Wooderson makes use of whereas cruising for ladies.
The actor remembered a Doors reside album on which Jim Morrison barks 4 “alrights” earlier than a track. McConaughey borrowed it, reasoning that every “alright” would symbolize one of many 4 issues that made Wooderson tick: his automobile, weed, rock ‘n’ roll, and chicks. (McConaughey solely delivered three as a result of Wooderson hadn’t but scored a chick for the night time.)
“The minute he stated that ‘alright, alright, alright’ factor, I simply went, ‘Oh, my god, for the remainder of time, persons are going to be saying the whole lot this motherf–ker says,’ ” set decorator Deb Pastor stated within the guide.
McConaughey additionally sparked the well-known line throughout the movie’s climax, the place Wooderson tells Pink (performed by Jason London), “You simply gotta hold livin’, man.”
The line was impressed by the loss of life of McConaughey’s father halfway via manufacturing. He took a stroll with Linklater, speaking about mourning, and landed on what’s turn out to be generally known as the “jkl” philosophy.
“There’s a ‘simply hold residing’ determination with each single factor that I do,” McConaughey says. “I may additionally argue that each character I play is a ‘simply hold residing’ character.”
It’s a mantra that is served him nicely. During the final week of the movie’s manufacturing, McConaughey determined to maneuver to Los Angeles and pursue a movie career. He carved the phrase into his automobile and had it as his outgoing answering-machine message for some time. Twenty-seven years after “Dazed and Confused,” he’s now an Oscar-winning icon, with a manufacturing firm and charitable basis each named Just Keep Living.