When we last saw them, Wooderson and Slater and "Pink" Floyd were stoned out of their gourds, driving into the East Texas sunrise, off on a sacred quest for Aerosmith tickets and...
HUNTSVILLE, Texas When we last saw them, Wooderson and Slater and “Pink” Floyd were stoned out of their gourds, driving into the East Texas sunrise, off on a sacred quest for Aerosmith tickets and smoking a breakfast joint as the end credits of “Dazed and Confused” began to roll.
But that was a long time ago, man, and it was just a made-up story with actors. Right now 11 years after the movie came out the real Wooderson, Slater and Floyd are here, in a Huntsville law office, explaining why they recently sued their old high-school acquaintance Richard Linklater, who made “Dazed and Confused,” for “defamation” and “negligent infliction of emotional distress.”
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“Like, for example, the scene that shows me showing somebody how to make a bong in shop class,” says Andy Slater, now 45. “I never did that. But they used my name, and they show me making a bong in shop class.”
He laughs. So does Bobby Wooderson, 47. And Richard “Pink” Floyd, 46.
Well, of course. Making bongs in shop class that is a tad far-fetched.
“Oh, no, they did that,” says Slater. “But it wasn’t me.”
Written and directed by Linklater, who grew up in Huntsville, “Dazed” was made on a tiny budget with a cast of unknowns, including future star Matthew McConaughey.
Set in an unnamed Texas town on the last day of school in 1976, “Dazed” is a delightfully comic anthropological study of adolescent behavior.
Critics raved. Floyd was eager to see it. “I watched the movie, and I felt like they’d kicked me in the stomach,” says Wooderson, now a computer-systems engineer and a divorced father of two.
He was stunned to see a character named David Wooderson (played by McConaughey), who graduated years ago but is still hanging around, smoking weed and chasing high-school chicks.
Floyd says he was shocked to see a character called Randall “Pink” Floyd (Jason London), a football star who wonders if he’d rather smoke weed and drink beer than play.
Slater was peeved about the character named Ron Slater (Rory Cochrane), a stoner in a pot-leaf T-shirt who launches into a stoned rap about how George Washington used to toke up, smoking righteous weed in pipes packed by Martha.
“Who knows? I might have said that,” says Slater, a bachelor and a building contractor. ” … But I was never walking around with a marijuana leaf on my shirt or handing out joints. I was not that character in that movie.”
“People ask, ‘Why did you wait to sue?’ ” says Wooderson. “Well, I just wanted it to go away. Nobody knew who McConaughey was. … Nobody knew Rick Linklater It was a low-budget, low-rent movie, and we figured it would just go away.”
Instead, it became a cult hit.
The incident that sparked the lawsuit came last year when Slater picked up a woman for their first and last date.
“She got in the car,” he recalls, “and she says, ‘My mother gave me a hard time about going out with you. She wants to know if you’re still a dope dealer.’ “
That did it.
The Dazed Three did not specify how much money they think Linklater and Universal should pony up. “It’s the principle of the thing,” says Wooderson.
The defendants filed papers requesting that the case be transferred to federal court but otherwise have remained silent. A Universal Studios spokeswoman declined comment; Linklater declined interview requests.
Floyd checked the Internet to see what the “Dazed” community was saying about the lawsuit.
“There were 700 messages,” he says. “Some of them were positive, but most were negative. ‘You losers stop smoking those joints!’ and ‘Did you just wake up and learn there was a movie out?’ “