Since the '90s, Matthew McConaughey has been near-synonymous with his infamous line, "Alright, alright, alright." Of course, the actor first stated the phrase in his breakout film, Dazed and Confused, a coming-of-age teen comedy set in the 1970s and directed by Richard Linklater. McConaughey portrayed David Wooderson, which wasn't a major role but was still responsible for setting the actor on the right track in Hollywood.
Matthew McConaughey revealed that the iconic phrase was a spur-of-the-moment idea for his first ever scene. The actor recalled the story of filming the iconic moment on an episode of PBS' American Masters focused on Linklater. The two talked through the scene, in which McConaughey's character hits on Marissa Ribisi's Cynthia, before the cameras started rolling.
"You know, Wooderson's the kind of guy — he's already been with like, the quintessential, the typical hot hotties, he's been with the cheerleader and all that stuff," McConaughey recalled Linklater telling him. "You think he'd go after the redheaded intellectual? Would he be interested?" The actor replied, "Yeah, I think he would. Hey, Wooderson likes all kinds of women."
"Think he'd maybe pull up and try and pick her up?" the director asked. "Yeah, give me 30 minutes," McConaughey replied before taking off on a walk to reflect on the character. "So I started to get a little nervous," McConaughey recalled. "That's my first scene ever, and I start asking myself, 'Who's my man? Who is Wooderson?'"
"And I go, 'Okay, I'm about my car. I'm about getting high. I'm about rock 'n' roll, and I'm about chicks," McConaughey said. While filming the movie, the actor listened to a live Doors album and was entranced by Jim Morrison's constant chant of "alright, alright, alright" to the crowd. From there, the actor incorporated the phrase to go along with his character having everything but women for a total of three alrights. Ultimately, the improvised line became more arguably more famous than his other notable quote from the film: "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age."
In 2018, the actor revealed that he was unsure of where his acting career would go prior to his performance in Dazed and Confused. McConaughey claimed that he thought acting was something "fun to do" and didn't see a future in it. "That was the role that, at that time I didn't know if it was going to be a hobby or something I was doing for the summer, and it turned out to be a career. That's where it all started and I always look back to that one," the actor explained.
Following his appearance in the 1993 film, McConaughey went on to achieve stardom with films such as The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and The Wolf of Wall Street. In 2014, the actor won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. When the actor accepted the award, he even used the classic phrase towards the end of his speech.
In August 2019, Gossip Cop busted a phony rumor that the actor's drinking was spiraling out of control. A "source" told to tabloids that while the actor would "let loose" when his wife was away and goes to New York City to get wild under the radar. The story turned out to be completely fabricated. While McConaughey may have adopted Wooderson's catchphrase, he certainly didn't pick up the character's habits.