Matthew McConaughey's 'Dazed and Confused' audition footage is still brilliant 25 years later
Dazed and Confused was a modest success when it was released in 1993, and has maintained its popularity throughout the years. Now, it's reached cult status, with many championing it as one of the best movies of the 90s.
The movie is a strange one in many ways. Rather than the melodrama and absurd raunchy hijinks that usually ensue in ensemble teen movies, this coming-of-age comedy is a lot more low-key. Set in the mid-70s, the film was supposedly meant to be the inverse of a John Hughes film (16 Candles, The Breakfast Club), according to director Richard Linklater.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film, back in 2013, the film received the Star of Texas award from the Texas Film Hall of Fame. Linklater accepted the award, saying in his speech:
"The drama is so low-key in [Dazed & Confused]. I don’t remember teenage being that dramatic. I remember just trying to go with the flow, socialize, fit in and be cool. The stakes were really low. To get Aerosmith tickets or not? That’s a big thing.
"It was really rare when the star-crossed lovers from the opposite side of the tracks and the girl gets pregnant and there’s a car crash and somebody dies. That didn’t really happen much. But riding around and trying to look for something to do with the music cranked up, now that happened a lot!"
Despite the fact the director was keeping things closer to reality, there are plenty of larger-than-life characters in the movie - most notably David Wooderson. It was Matthew McConaughey's breakout role, and for many his most memorable. In the years since, the actor starred in his fair share of rom-coms before the 'McConaissance' hit - leading to roles in films such as Interstellar, True Detective and Dallas Buyers Club.
His career has come a long way since this role, but it's still an iconic performance with a few all-time quotes to his name. "You just gotta keep livin' man, L-I-V-I-N," is one, but it's "All right, all right, all right" that has followed McConaughey around all his life.
He's still asked about the line in interviews today, later revealing his reasoning behind the improvised scene:
Even though he seems perfect for the role in retrospect, Linklater wasn't too sure about him initially.
"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. "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'."
You can watch the audition below:
"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?'.
"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."
One thing's for sure, it was some damn good casting. Now just have a look at how the rest of the cast have changed in the last 25 years.