Dazed and Confused introduced us to a wily Matthew McConaughey back in 1993. Richard Linklater‘s sophomore film follows a troop of Texas high schoolers as they flit around town… and McConaughey plays the older guy hitting on all the girls. But what happened to the rest of the starry-eyed cast?
Some of them are big-time celebs now. Others were relegated to the ’90s cult time capsule.
Though Wiley Wiggins carried Dazed and Confused — we interpret the film mainly through the sweet youngster’s eyes — he mainly disappeared from the public eye. Wiggins was just 16 when he played Mitch Kramer, and the filmography that followed is pretty scattered. He’s appeared mainly in smaller, independent fare with the exception of Waking Life: another, animated film by Richard Linklater in which Wiggins has the starring role.
Instead, he focuses on creative endeavors outside of movies. Wiggins is a video game designer and a writer whose work was featured in old cyberpunk magazines like Boing Boing, FringeWare Review, and Mondo 2000. It’s fitting that this ’90s poster child was involved with the cyberculture emerging at that time.
Check out his artsy Instagram.
Obviously, Ben Affleck became a major star after Dazed and Confused. Though his true breakout came later, with his 1997 Oscar win for Good Will Hunting, his small part in Richard Linklater’s film made an impact. Affleck played the Fred O’Bannion: a senior bully with a bloodlust for spanking freshmen. He swaggers about town in Dazed, waving a wooden paddle.
Though it wasn’t a lead role, it was important — both for the film and for Affleck’s career. “To have a formidable bad guy, you had to feel like he could be the good guy, too,” Linklater later said of the casting. “And Ben was so smart, but he’s big and imposing. I just liked him.” Affleck has also attributed his understanding of filmmaking to his early work on Dazed.
Like Ben Affleck, Parker Posey played a real b*tch in Dazed and Confused. And she pulled it off gloriously. Posey made a name for herself in the alt fare of the ’90s, appearing in 32(!) independent films during that period. But she followed that work up with bigger budget work in movies like You’ve Got Mail and guest appearances on just about every TV sitcom.
A true character actress, a cameo by Parker Posey livens up just about anything.
As Randall “Pink” Floyd, the existential jock, Jason London commands a major spotlight in Dazed and Confused. Among the busy cast, he’s certainly a standout. But the actor never achieved mainstream fame. He later appeared in the title role in NBC’s made-for-TV film, Jason and the Argonauts.
London’s brother, Jeremy London, was also a ’90s celeb, starring in Party of Five, 7th Heaven, and Kevin Smith’s Mallrats.
Milla Jovovich is a sci-fi queen, with starring roles in The Fifth Element and the Resident Evil series. But before those blockbuster breakouts, she had a small part in Dazed and Confused as Michelle Burroughs, the girlfriend of floppy-haired party boy Kevin Pickford.
Joey Lauren Adams
Joey Lauren Adams! She’s so young in Dazed and Confused, but her voice — girly and scratchy — is recognizable anywhere. In Dazed, she plays the besotted girlfriend of Pink… who has other girls on his radar.
Following the film, Adams found wider fame in the View Askewniverse films of another ’90s auteur, Kevin Smith. In 1997, she starred in Smith’s Chasing Amy, alongside fellow Dazed alum Ben Affleck. She’s also the main love interest in Big Daddy with Adam Sandler.
With an anxious affect, Adam Goldberg perfectly portrays the nervous nerd Mike Newhouse. A working actor, he went on to play supporting roles in major films like Saving Private Ryan, A Beautiful Mind, and Zodiac. He’s also had some memorable guest spots on Friends — as Chandler’s angry roommate Eddie — and Entourage.
As a stereotypical pothead, Rory Cochrane was the most hilarious scene-stealer in Dazed. His long, conspiracy-tinted tangents keep the conversation going as the character, Ron Slater, bobs easily between social strata. Everyone likes the guy with weed!
Cochrane went on to star in another cult classic, Empire Records, in 1995. He also appeared in Argo, a film by fellow Dazed bussy Ben Affleck and in CSI: Miami.
Right around the time that Anthony Rapp played the dork Tony Olsen in Dazed, he found international fame in the original cast of Rent. Rapp, who entered Hollywood with Broadway roots, originated the musical’s lead role of Mark Cohen. He’s also the current star of Star Trek: Discovery on CBS… but that’s not all keeping Rapp in the news.
Rapp is Kevin Spacey’s original accuser. Rapp alleges that Spacey made sexual advances on him when he was just 14 years old: a claim which ended Spacey’s career in 2017. Recently, the case went to trial though the jury sided with Spacey in October 2022.
In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role, Renee Zellweger appeared in Dazed and Confused as an uncredited extra… who briefly catches the eye of Matthew McConaughey’s David Wooderson. She’s also in attendance at the forest kegger, eagerly hoisting up a beer bong.
With no true lead, Dazed and Confused is driven by its colorful, kooky ensemble cast. And not everyone can be a star. Some of the other names that appeared in Dazed and Confused, but not much else, include Santina Marissa Ribisi — now married to Beck — Shawn Andrews, Sahsa Jenson, Cole Hauser, and Christin Hinojosa.
And Of Course… Matthew McConaughey
“I keep getting older, but they keep staying the same age,” Matthew McConaughey says in his now-famous drawl.