When Dazed and Confused came out in 1993, grossing a disappointing $7.9 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo, it was hard to imagine it would become a sturdy fiber in America’s cultural fabric. Over the years, Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age film has grown into a cult classic with an audience score of 90% with more than 100,000 ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie starred several young actors who would become stars. Among them are Matthew McConaughey and Cole Hauser, who played David Wooderson and Benny O’Donnell, respectively. Hauser had already starred in School Ties (1992) when he landed the role. After his audition, Linklater told Hauser that the movie was “gonna be like summer camp in Austin,” defining the vibe behind the scenes, according to Vulture.
But the film launched the career of McConaughey — and gave us his iconic “alright, alright, alright” — who wasn’t even supposed to star in it, much less have a big role, as The Daily Beast detailed. McConaughey was, after all, just a local film-student at the University of Texas at the time, hanging out at a hotel bar where casting director, Don Phillips, happened to be having a few drinks during production. The two ended up drinking vodka all night together, and the rest is history, according to Maxim.
With so many young and good-looking men and women shooting together for months on end, it is unsurprising that friendships were formed. Keep reading to learn more about Hauser and McConaughey’s relationship.
Matthew McConaughey and Cole Hauser struck up a lifelong friendship
Being local and somewhat of an outsider, Matthew McConaughey introduced his own vibe to the group. In a 2020 interview with Vulture, Cole Hauser shared that the Texas native was eager to show off his town. “Matthew was like, ‘C’mon guys, get out of your hotel room, let me take you down to the river’… It’s muggy and nasty in Austin during the summer, so to have a cool spring with a beer in your hand and beautiful girls cruising by? It was heaven on earth,” Hauser said.
The two hit it off and they ended up taking them — alongside fellow cast member Rory Cochrane (who played Ron Slater) — a trip across Europe in the months that followed, McConaughey told Austin Monthly. He still has a Heineken coaster from Amsterdam, which he keeps in a Ziplock bag with other mementos, per the report.
A year after filming Dazed and Confused in the summer of 1992, McConaughey moved to Los Angeles, where he crashed on Don Phillips’ couch for a while, he told LA Magazine. Phillips wasn’t the only familiar face he knew in California then.
“I had my buddies Rory Cochrane and Cole Hauser here, and we would hit up the Formosa Cafe and Chez Jay in Santa Monica,” he said, adding that “go have a drink with Cochrane and Hauser” is still among his priorities when McConaughey, who has moved back to Austin, likes to do when he goes to California.
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