“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” -Lao Tzu
Maybe Matthew McConaughey was always going to be a superstar. Or maybe an idle Thursday night during his spring semester at UT-Austin in 1992 was McConaughey’s only shot at becoming the man we know him today.
If the latter is the case, McConaughey owes his life to the ex-girlfriend who convinced him to go out for drinks on a Thursday night at the Hyatt hotel bar, where he introduced himself to famed casting director Don Phillips (who casted Sean Penn in Fast Times).
As the story goes, the two spent four hours drinking together, long after McConaughey’s girlfriend left the bar, and Phillips suggested he come try out for the role of Wooderson.
— Matthew McConaughey (@McConaughey) September 23, 2020
Director Richard Linklater initially felt McConaughey was wrong for the part, as he was looking for someone a little more frumpy, more stoner-ish.
Linklater described to Rolling Stone in 1996, three years after the film’s release, how McConaughey won him and the entire staff over.
“So he 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.'”
Fast forward nearly three decades, hundreds of millions of dollars, countless movies, and an Academy Award for Best Actor later, McConaughey is nearing Icon status.