Twenty years before winning his Oscar, the actor played aging stoner David Wooderson in the now-classic cult film

By Tim Nudd
Updated January 13, 2015 10:55 AM
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Credit: Everett

It wasn’t an Oscar-worthy role, but lots of Matthew McConaughey fans consider it his best, anyway.

Twenty years before he took home the Academy Award for Dallas Buyers Club, the actor, now 45, turned in the cult performance of a lifetime in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. In it, he played David Wooderson, the aging stoner and jailbait chaser in pink jeans and a Ted Nugent T-shirt who hangs out with the high school kids.

Now, Criterion Collection has unearthed an absolute gem: McConaughey’s audition tape for the role. Everything about it is fantastic, from his woozy drawl to his classic line about high school girls: “I get older, they stay the same age.” (Warning: Some language in the clip is NSFW.)

Linklater, whose movie Boyhood just won the Golden Globe for best dramatic motion picture, spoke to Straight.com in 2012 about McConaughey and the Wooderson character.

“He did his audition and he kind of, like, fell into this character,” Linklater said. “His eyes turned into little quarter slots, he’s like, ‘Hey, man, you got a joint?’ And I was, like, ‘Holy s—!’ He became that guy. Holy moley.”

“And I always say Matthew’s a character actor,” Linklater continued. “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?’ ”