How did Matthew McConaughey feel heading into his first big scene on his first big movie? Three words: alright, alright, alright. Back in 1993, the Texas-born actor shot to fame almost overnight thanks to his brief, but memorable performance as aging lothario Wooderson in Richard Linklater‘s beloved last day of school nostalgia trip, Dazed and Confused. In this clip from documentary Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny, which had a limited theatrical release last year and premieres as part of PBS’s American Masters series tonight (Sept. 1), Linklater and McConaughey reminisce about Wooderson’s introduction into the film, during which he utters the three-word mantra that has defined McConaughey’s career. “It was my first scene ever, and I started asking myself, ‘Who is Wooderson?‘” the actor explains in the documentary. (Watch the clip above.)
Ultimately, McConaughey decided that there were four things that defined his alter ego: his car, his weed, his music, and girls…particularly high school age girls. Looking around the set before Linklater called “Action,” he realized that Wooderson already had three out of those four items — the automobile, the joint, and the tunes. And when he pulled up alongside red-haired intellectual Cynthia (Marissa Ribisi), she was the only thing he needed to complete the set. “That was three affirmations for what I had, and it really relaxed me to pull that. That’s the first words I ever said on film.” And he hasn’t stopped saying them since. Not that we’d want him to.
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