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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Watch Matthew McConaughey audition for ‘Dazed and Confused’

(Credit: Gramercy Pictures)

Film

Dazed and Confused bought Matthew McConaughey international recognition. By the time he landed a role in the Richard Linklater classic, he’d been acting professionally for two years. The below footage of McConaughey’s first audition for the part shows the young actor absolutely nailing the fugged-out cool of David Wooderson.

McConaughey started working professionally in 1991, appearing in a selection of student films and commercials in his native Texas. After the release of his 1992 short film Chicano Chariots, he was introduced to Richard Linklater by director and producer Don Phillips. Linklater was looking for actors for his new project, a coming-of-age film about a group of teenagers celebrating the last day of high school in Austin, Texas.

Initially, the director was reluctant to cast McConaughey on the basis that he was too handsome to play a thirsty teenager. In this rare audition tape, he certainly isn’t doing much to disguise his good looks – his pearly white smile cutting through the VHS fuzz with ease. It’s clear why Linklater was reluctant to cast him. There’s a certain creepiness to the character, which Matthew later highlighted by growing out his hair and moustache. With that, the role was his.

Years later, Linklater recalled McConaughey’s audition during a conversation with Marc Maron. Rejecting the idea that he discovered the actor, Linklater said: “I never really believe that word, ‘discover,’ because, I mean, his destiny was laid out. I was just there at the beginning.” Explaining how easily Matthew connected to the script, the director added: “He came in on an audition and said, ‘Hey, I’m not this guy, but I know this guy.’ And he just became that character.”

McConaughey’s role was originally limited to just three scenes. However, this part grew as Linklater encouraged him to do more and more improvisations. Eventually, his part featured over 300 lines, one of the most famous of which was an ad-lib inspired by The Doors’ Jim Morrison. You might have heard it; it goes like this: “Alright, Alright, Alright.”

After being shown his audition tape nearly 30 years later, McConaughey said: “28 years ago, you thought you might just have a little three-day job for a summer hobby. 28 years later, I still got a little summer job that turned into a career.”

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