Matthew McConaughey performs during the 2023 Mack, Jack & McConaughey - Jack Ingram & Friends concert at ACL Live on April 28, 2023 in Austin, Texas
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Matthew McConaughey Movies: The Texan Star's Most Iconic Roles, Ranked

The Oscar winner is set to appear in an untitled 'Yellowstone' sequel.

When Matthew McConaughey landed his first-ever film role in 1993's Dazed and Confused, he initially had only three lines. But director Richard Linklater dug McConaughey's chilled-out Texas swagger so much, he decided to give his character full-fledged scenes which included now-iconic lines McConaughey made up himself, most notably: "Alright, alright, alright," and "It'd be a lot cooler if you did," and "You just gotta keep livin', man. L-I-V-I-N."

Watching the breakout performance from the sidelines, the film's editor turned to the producer and said, "This is a movie star" — words which became prophecy.

McConaughey was a celebrity heartthrob by the mid-aughts, pinned as the go-to casting choice for the suave and womanizing bachelor character. But he managed to break free from his rom-com chains and land powerful roles in some of the most renowned films and series ever made, including his Academy Award-winning turn in 2013's Dallas Buyers Club.

Along the way, his low country roots kept him grounded as a famously un-Hollywood brand of movie star, and the adage he coined during his first role, "You just gotta keep livin', man," would inform everything he did thereafter.

He calls it the "jkl" philosophy.

"There's a 'just keep living' decision with every single thing that I do," McConaughey says. "I could also argue that every character I play is a 'just keep living' character."

These days, the Oscar-winning icon runs a charitable foundation and a production company both named — what else? — Just Keep Living. He also teaches a film class at his alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin, and is in talks to star in an untitled Yellowstone sequel currently in pre-production.

Stick around and join us as we take a look back at 10 of his greatest 'just keep living' characters — it'd be a lot cooler if you did.

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