‘Dazed and Confused’ was director Richard Linklater’s ode to his Texas high school days and it became a cult hit from its release in 1993. The story follows a group of high school teens in 1976 as they ponder the end of the school year and the events that come along with it: freshman hazing, cruising around, keg parties, and weed…loads of it. Many of the young actors in its ensemble cast graduated to stardom shortly thereafter and the New York Daily News hunted them down to see where they are now. The film starred two of the most successful actors today: Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck. But what about the rest? Check it out because there are some really great surprises:
Randall ‘Pink’ Floyd, played by Jason London, was the central figure in ‘Dazed’s’ wild night, who seemed to be friends with everyone, from the stoners to the football jocks to the nerds. He starts his senior year with an act of defiance, crumpling up the football team pledge to stay off booze and drugs. Now that’s livin’. London – not to be confused with fellow actor and twin brother Jeremy London – never quite hit it big after ‘Dazed,’ most recently starring in a string of TV guest roles and the 2008 slasher spoof ‘Killer Movie.’ Several of his co-stars managed to crack the Hollywood A-list, while others have followed quirkier paths …
Matthew McConaughey was spot-on as David Wooderson, that twenty-something dude who can’t quite leave his high school days behind. Instead, Wooderson prefers to stick around the pool hall, offering his younger peers words of wisdom on L-I-V-I-N and the charms of freshman girls which resulted in the famous quote: “That’s what I love about these High School girls man. I get older, they stay the same age.” Following ‘Dazed,’ McConaughey’s career launched in earnest with his starring role in the 1996 legal thriller ‘A Time to Kill.’ He’s since become the go-to leading man for romantic comedies, like this year’s ‘Ghosts of Girlfriends Past’ – and the go-to hunk for shirtless paparazzi shots during his well-documented beach workouts. The actor welcomed his first child, Levi, with girlfriend Camila Alves last year and the couple just announced that they are expecting again.
Ben Affleck had one of his first big screen credits (after 1992’s ‘School Ties’) as dimwitted bully Fred O’Bannion, who channelled his anger over flunking senior year into the backsides of the new freshman class through his fearsome wooden paddle. The up-and-coming actor won Oscar gold just four years later for co-writing ‘Good Will Hunting’ with buddy Matt Damon. After suffering career backlash as the male half of ‘Bennifer’ (with former fiance Jennifer Lopez), Affleck has bounced back in recent years with films like ‘Hollywoodland’ and ‘He’s Just Not That Into You.’ He and wife Jennifer Garner have two daughters, Violet and Serafina.
Milla Jovovich played hippie chick Michelle Burroughs, who spoke few lines – but she did warble a song that we’re pretty sure is about aliens. The former model is best known for her role in ‘The Fifth Element’ (1997), and found success as a designer with her now-defunct clothing line, Jovovich-Hawk. She is married to director Paul W.S. Anderson; daughter Ever was born in 2007
As Kevin Pickford, Shawn Andrews planned an ill-fated house party that went bust when the kegs showed up right before his parents left on their vacation. Drama followed Andrews off-screen, too: he eloped to Las Vegas with co-star Milla Jovovich while ‘Dazed’ was being filmed. She was just 16 at the time, and their marriage was annulled after barely a month (WHAT!). Movie audiences haven’t seen much of Andrews since ‘Dazed,’ but he did star in the 2008 indie film ‘Fix,’ directed by Tao Ruspoli (husband of actress Olivia Wilde).
Future A-lister Renee Zellweger (SURPRISE) had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo as a party girl holding a beer bong (c., in the photo on the left). Now that Zellweger is an Oscar winner (she earned a Best Supporting nod in 2003 for ‘Cold Mountain’), we’re guessing the ‘Bridget Jones’ beauty sips her suds from a glass.
Cole Hauser played Benny O’Donnell, one of Robert E. Lee High’s paddlers-in-chief. It was his second film role, after 1992’s ‘School Ties,’ in which he starred with pals Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Hauser worked with Damon and Affleck again on ‘Good Will Hunting.’ Other film credits include ‘Pitch Black’ and ‘2 Fast 2 Furious.’ Hauser’s a relatively low-key actor, but his family tree is packed with Hollywood luminaries, such as great-grandpa Harry Warner, co-founder of Warner Bros.
As resident sleepy-eyed stoner Ron Slater, Rory Cochrane left us with a store of bright high-deas, including the memorable musing that Martha Washington was ‘a hip, hip lady.’ Cochrane went on to star in another ’90s favorite, ‘Empire Records,’ and teamed up with Richard Linklater once again for 2006’s ‘A Scanner Darkly.’ Lately he’s known for his TV roles on ‘CSI: Miami’ and ’24’ (SURPRISE, I knew he looked familiar) — but you can catch him on the big screen later this summer in the gangster drama ‘Public Enemies.’
Anthony Rapp was the socially awkward Tony Olson, who upgrades from kinky dreams involving a ‘perfect female body’ with the head of Abraham Lincoln, to a real-life crush on a freshman named Sabrina. Rapp later brought his alpha-geek charm to the role of Mark in the original Broadway production of ‘Rent.’ He also starred in the 2005 movie.
Mike Newhouse, played by Adam Goldberg, gets in a bout of drunken fisticuffs before the night is over – but he really just wants to dance. Goldberg’s wide-ranging roles include a soldier on a mission in ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ a Jewish superhero in ‘The Hebrew Hammer,’ and an NYC detective on TV’s ‘The Unusuals.’
As the scrappy Clint Bruno, Nicky Katt got to utter the memorable line: ‘I only came here to do two things: kick some ass and drink some beer. Looks like we’re almost out of beer.’ Katt played teacher Harry Senate on the Fox drama ‘Boston Public’ – and you can also catch him as a SWAT agent in last year’s Batman movie, ‘The Dark Knight.’