Matthew McConaughey has had a long and increasingly illustrious career since first appearing on film in 1993′s Dazed and Confused. But despite his many roles since then, arguably his most famous line comes from that debut. And not only from his first movie, but from the very first scene he ever filmed.
The line? Alright, alright, alright.
In a 2011 appearance on George Stroumboulopoulos’s show, McConaughey shared the backstory for this now iconic line.
One night early in the shooting of the film, McConaughey was being prepped for his role — hair, makeup, clothes — but he wasn’t scheduled to actually film anything that day. However, when the director Richard Linklater saw him come out of his trailer, he made a change to the scene he was filming that evening.
It was a scene at the drive-in, and in that moment Linklater realized, McConaughey’s character Wooderson was definitely the sort to be at the drive-in on a Friday. He had to be there, and maybe he should try to pick up a redhead this time around.
So McConaughey’s first-ever scene as a film actor was going to be a last-minute, unprepped addition. Of course, he was nervous. He sat in the car blasting a live album of The Doors to get himself in the right headspace and realized that Wooderson was driven by all the same things as The Doors frontman Jim Morrison — cars, drugs, music, and girls.
And then, between two of the songs on the album, Morrison hollers “Alright!” over and over again in his harsh, guttural way. It stuck in McConaughey’s mind and as the cameras rolled and he pulled his car to a stop to hit on another girl, he opened his mouth and out came Wooderson’s version of Jim Morrison.
Alright, alright, alright.