“My character, David Wooderson, he has three lines in the entire film. Alright, but one of those lines is what I like to call a launch pad line.” – Matthew McConaughey
During his opening monologue for this past weekends Saturday Night Live, Matthew McConaughey recounted how he came up with his catchphrase, ‘Alright, alright, alright!’
It all begin with a fateful meeting at an Austin bar with a producer on Richard Linklater‘s 1993 film, Dazed and Confused. After talking and drinking for four hours, they both got kicked out of the bar and shared a cab together on their way home. On the ride, the producer told him he would be great as Wooderson.
He goes on to tell the story: “My character, David Wooderson, he has three lines in the entire film. Alright, but one of those lines is what I like to call a launch pad line. Now what I mean by that, a launch pad line is a line that if a character really believes it, then I can feel like I can write a whole book on this character.”
“The scene goes like this, “Wooderson’s hanging out at a pool hall with some buddies, some girls walk by, he smacks one of them on the ass and his buddy says, “Man you’re going to go to jail for that, Wood Man.” And Wooderson says “nah. That’s what I love about those high school girls, man. I get older, but they stay the same age,” he told the audience.
Eventually, Linklater came up to him and says, “Listen, we’re doing this drive-through scene tonight, and I know you’re not supposed to work, but you think Wooderson might be picking up on the red headed intellectual?”
He thinks a little and tells the director, “You know, he’s already been with the cheerleader and the ‘typically’ hot girls, what about a red headed intellectual?”
“Next thing I know, I’m in a car, getting ready to shoot the very first scene of my film acting career, unscripted. Am I nervous? Damn right, I’m nervous. So I’m thinking, “Who is Wooderson? Who is my man? You know, what’s he about?” And I tell myself, “Wooderson’s about four things: he’s about cars, weed, rock ‘n’ roll, and chicks. I look around, where I am, well I’m in my 70’s Chevelle. That’s one. I’ve got Slater riding shotgun, so I’m definitely getting high, that’s two. And we’ve got Ted Nugent playing Stranglehold on the 8-track, well that’s three.”
Then the cameras start to roll. “At this point I hear over the intercom, “Action!” And I look up across the drive-through at this red headed intellectual and I say to myself, “Buddy, you got three out of four. Alright, alright, alright!”
Check out the entire monologue below.