In 1992 Matthew McConaughey didn't seem to view acting as a viable career path. He'd done a reenactment on Unsolved Mysteries, playing a real crime victim who was murdered while protecting neighborhood kids from a child molester, and he auditioned to play a stoner named David Wooderson in a movie directed by Richard Linklater.
Linklater wasn't sure the bleached blonde and ripped young actor was right for the part. As for McConaughey, it's clear as we watch him watch his 28 years younger self in the video above that he was just looking for a summer gig—not a career.
McConaughey was a college kid drinking with his girlfriend at a hotel bar in Texas when he spotted Don Phillips, a noted casting director. He and Phillips hung out that night and had drinks. The actor's girlfriend actually left, but he stuck around and Phillips told him he should audition for Wooderson.
Director Richard Linklater would later say he wasn't too sure about McConaughey for the part—he saw Wooderson as a doughy loser type. Then, as he said in a Rolling Stone interview just a few years after the movie's premiere, he got a dose of the talent that would go on to snag an Emmy and an Oscar later.
McConaughey, Linklater said, "took a step back, shrugged his shoulders like an athlete would, his eyes kind of narrowed—a little stoned, like—a certain swagger came over him, he lost about an inch, and he’s a new guy, right in front of me, a 30-second dissolve into a new person… I just said, ‘Hey, man, you are this guy.'"
McConaughey is reflective in the video above, relating his inner voice after watching the footage. Turns out he didn't just keep repeating "Alright, alright, alright" to himself—Wooderson's most iconic line. "Man, that was 1992," he says, "Twenty-eight years ago. You thought you might just have a little three-day job for a summery hobby. Twenty-eight years later, I still got a little summer job that turned into a career."
Then he gives a little chuckle. It's the kind of low-key stoner laugh that could have come straight from David Wooderson himself.