Wooderson is scene-devouring character in one of the most iconic coming of age movies of the last fifty years, Dazed and Confused. Even though he uttered only a few sentence in the entire film, a then-unknown Matthew McConaughey made the bit player a must-watch character throughout the film.
In the video above, McConaughey explains through a cut-and-pasting of different interviews and profiles over the years the fluke way in which he landed the role, his obsession with perfecting the delivery minimal dialogue and the real-life inspiration for the guy who never left high school behind.
“It was my big brother,” the Oscar winner explained. “He was an iconic figure. His Z28 was the fastest car in town. And he was the coolest cat going.”
While the younger McConaughey found inspiration in his older brother on how to portray the super senior Wooderson, the true inspiration for the character came from the real life of Dazed and Confused writer and director Richard Linklater.
Wooderson exists, as I found out a few years ago, when I wrote this 20th anniversary piece on Dazed and Confused.
Bobby Wooderson, Andy Slater, and Richard “Pink” Floyd were friends and members of the same graduating class as Linklater at Hunstville High. The trio didn’t keep in touch in the years after graduation but suddenly reconnected in the years after ‘Dazed’ became a box office and rental hit. The three classmates, who shared almost identical names with prominent characters on the screen, held a reunion of sorts to sue Linklater and Universal Studios, for defamation of character. The men claimed that ‘Dazed and Confused’ damaged their reputations and unfairly portrayed them as “stoners.”
“Like, for example, the scene that shows me showing somebody how to make a bong in shop class,” Andy Slater explained in a 2004 interview with the Washington Post. “I did not do that. I never did that. But they used my name and they show me making a bong in shop class.”
I made a few attempts to contact the real Wooderson, Slater and Floyd but none of my calls were returned.
To read the entire story of the Dazed and Confused three, check out the article on ScreenCrush.