‘Dazed and Confused’ Turns 25: Why Parker Posey Knew Matthew McConaughey Would Be a Star

“We screamed at how genius his whole look was. That guy! Yes,” Posey said upon seeing McConaughey’s photo

Wooderson Matthew McConaughey Dazed and Confused
Gramercy Pictures

Pinned to makeup artist Jean Black’s mirror on the set of “Dazed and Confused” were several Polaroid pictures of some of the actors in the film. As star Parker Posey described it in her book, one of the photos looked like “Ted Nugent meets daredevil Evel Knievel and just as gorgeous as Jesus Christ.”

That was Matthew McConaughey.

“What can I say but ‘Wow,’” Posey wrote in her book “You’re on an Airplane.” “We screamed at how genius his whole look was. That guy! Yes!”

Posey pointed TheWrap to the section in her book when we spoke with her for the 25th anniversary of “Dazed and Confused.” She reflected on the bond she formed with everyone set and the openness between the actors during shooting. And she had a feeling McConaughey was destined to be a star.

“I called my agent right away and told him he had to sign him. He was going to be a huge star,” Posey wrote. “But he didn’t listen.”

After seeing the photo, Posey asked director Richard Linklater if she could be in a scene with McConaughey’s character Wooderson, specifically Wooderson’s entrance to a party at a pool hall. Upon meeting him, she quickly described her character to McConaughey as “a bad girl, but cool,” and they improvised their delightfully brief moment together on screen.

“He slapped my ass and said, ‘Hey Darla,’” Posey wrote. “That’s what guys did back then, and in those days it was a compliment.”

Of course part of the reason “Dazed and Confused” has endured after 25 years is because, in addition to Posey and McConaughey, Linklater’s films helped birth the careers of Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Milla Jovovich, Anthony Rapp and even Ben Affleck.

“I want to see more of everyone in that movie. I want to see more of Rory Cochran, Joey Adams, Adam Goldberg, Cole Hauser,” Posey told TheWrap, speaking to how some actors simply look so authentic in a specific time period, they end up becoming tied to it.

“I think the movie is more about the whole and not about the parts,” Posey said. “It’s about this feeling. It’s this portrayal of a decade of people and what it was like to grow up in the ’70s, what it was like to have that music, what it was like to be alive at that age at that time. Especially with that music. It was a wonderful, great time. We made a classic.”