Everyone knows that Matthew McConaughey is a big, proud Texan, but did you know the actor—with nine wins and six nominations under his big-buckled belt—has starred in nearly a dozen films that take place in (or make reference to) the Lone Star state? Dazed and Confused set the trend in motion in Austin; his newest release, Dallas Buyers Club (opening this weekend), is no exception. His IMDB page reads like a tribute to cowboy hats, honky-tonk, and Southern twang.
Below we map out every Texas reference we could find—starting with his birthday (November 4, happy b-day dude!) in Uvalde, Texas.
Matthew David McConaughey is born is Uvalde, Texas, the youngest of three boys. His dad owned a gas station, ran an oil pipe supply business, and played in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers.
After attending high school in Longview, Texas (near Dallas), McConaughey studies at the University of Texas at Austin, joins Delta Tau Delta, and graduates with a B.S. in Radio-Television-Film.
Dazed & Confused director Richard Linklater casts the actor as David Wooderson, a grad with an affinity for high-school girls ("I keep getting older, they stay the same age."), partying, and chillin' in the Austin suburbs. He will continue to have the same accent in every film.
Like every other up-and-coming Hollywood actor, McConaughey went on to make a horror film that no one will ever watch. For his turn, he slapped a mechanical leg on under his ranch boots to play killer Vilmer Sawyer in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation—a quasi-remake of the 1974 slasher film. His signature laid-back cadence remains in tact despite the fact that he plays a psycho-cannibal-henchman.
Within two years, McConaughey plays back-to-back law-enforcement agents in the murder-mysteries Judgment and Lone Star. Texas locales? Check. Cowboy hats? Check. Badges? Check. Guns? Check. Non-regional southern twang? Double check.
McConaughey stars in The Newton Boys, a drama about the highly successful bank robbery gang from the '20s. The decision to cast him in this role must have been easy; the story is based on true event that took place in his hometown.
A year later, McConaughey lends his voice to the character Rad Thibodeaux in the animated show King of the Hill. Rad is a smooth-talking, good-ol' boy from Arlen, Texas with an fondness for younger women, leading some to believe that this is just the animated version of David Wooderson from Dazed and Confused.
In the countrified chiller Frailty, McConaughey plays a man named Fenton Meiks who goes to the FBI about his brother's involvement in some scary-ass serial killings. It's a noir/gothic thriller set in East Texas—and the directorial debut of co-star Bill Paxton.
In the film Sahara, Dirk Pitt (McConaughey) finds himself on the hunt for a gunboat used in the American Civil War. The name of the boat: the CSS Texas.
McConaughey plays Danny Buck Davidson in the film Bernie, a district attorney trying to identify the murderer of an 81-year-old woman in the small town of . . . Carthage, Texas.
Billed as "a totally twisted deep-fried Texas redneck trailer park murder story," Killer Joe features McConaughey as the title character—a police detective/contract killer—hired to murder a man's mother to collect the insurance money. Set in West Dallas.
The actor lands the semi-recurring character Roy McDaniel on the HBO series East Bound and Down. McDaniel is an openly gay scout for the Texas Rangers baseball club with a mustache that bridges the gap between Southern gentleman and '70s porn star.
McConaughey plays the owner of the Xquisite Strip Club, where he performs in full wrangler gear every night for a lady-filled audience, disrobing down to his black Stetson hat. Even though the club is located in Florida and his character doesn't claim to be from Texas, we're going to take a leap of faith here and call him a Lone Star stud, based on his name: Dallas.
In McConaughey's latest project Dallas Buyers Club, he plays real-life Texas electrician Ron Woodroof, a man who took on the FDA after being diagnosed with HIV and smuggling anti-viral medications into the U.S. The film has already received positive reviews—and a possible Oscar nomination for best actor. Though the movie explores a sad time in Texas history, we still get to watch a rootin'-tootin' McConaughey packing a Marlboro Man presence and a car full of illegal pharmaceuticals.
Continuing his reign into the new year, McConaughey will join fellow cowboy Woody Harrelson in the HBO new drama True Detective. McConaughey plays a cop born in the coastal city of Galveston, Texas, who transfers from the Houston PD to small-town Louisiana and soon finds himself embroiled in a 17 year-spanning hunt for a serial killer.
Dallas Buyers Club opens November. 1st, 2013.
—Laura Delarato. Follow her at @lauradelarato.