Matthew McConaughey may have only had a relatively small part in The Wolf of Wall Street, but he made a big impact on the much-loved Martin Scorsese movie.
In particular, one improvised scene with Leonardo DiCaprio became a fan favourite, and it was actually based on one of the actor’s rituals when the cameras weren’t rolling.
Watch him explain how it came about here:
The film was released 10 years ago and is based on the story of controversial stockbroker Jordan Belfort, played by DiCaprio.
The three-hour film is chock-a-block with memorably wild scenes – pen-selling, dwarf-throwing and Margot Robbie teasing all spring to mind.
But one scene that transcended the flick and subsequently reverberated throughout culture wasn’t even in the script.
McConaughey had a small part as eccentric senior stockbroker Mark Hanna, who takes Jordan under his wing as he’s starting out on Wall Street.
Over a lunch meeting, Mark shares some top tips with Jordan – namely that he should masturbate and use cocaine regularly.
So, with Scorsese at the helm, and DiCaprio and McConaughey left to play with this material, it was always going to result in big screen gold.
However, after around half a dozen takes, with the scene in the can, it was a little bit of thinking outside of the box that took it to the next level.
Between shooting, McConaughey had been thumping on his chest and humming. It was a sort of meditative ritual the Oscar-winning actor had been using for a while, as a means of clearing his head, preparing his voice and finding his rhythm.
DiCaprio suggested that they try to incorporate it into the scene, and the rest is history.
Following the film’s release, viewers couldn’t get enough of it. What exactly it meant was unclear, but it was infectious, and what was supposed to be a cameo role for McConaughey ended up producing one of the most loved and quoted scenes of his storied career.
“I mean, it’s music,” the 53-year-old told LADbible last year, while discussing his memoir Greenlights.
“I love music and I think part of my performances and what I try to bring to these characters is a different type of music, tone, inflection, how they speak, what their words are.
“And you know, that was so out-there, and Wolf of Wall Street and that scene is so out-there. Then it comes back at the end of the scene, then Leo uses it later in the movie.
“It was all so odd, but so rhythmically right-on, you’re like, ‘That scene couldn’t have been anything else, but where in the hell did that come from?!'”
Why then did the seemingly nonsensical acting ritual-turned-broker mantra capture the imagination quite so comprehensively?
“It’s funny. It’s anarchic. It’s inconsiderate. But it’s empowering at the same time, and it’s fun,” McConaughey reasoned.
“And everyone can do it. Like I say, you don’t have to go get lessons to do it. Everyone’s got their own bass. It’s just – here’s the drumstick, here’s the drum [hmm-hmm-hmmm].
“Get your hum on, whatever it is – singing – you can’t do it wrong. There’s no way to do it wrong. And I think people just pick it up and find it fun, and it’s a good pump up.”
He added: “I mean, there are bands all over America and beyond that at games and stuff have their version that the band play.
“I’ve heard players come out to the batter’s box, or on to a pitch, or called into a game, and that’s their theme chant over the speakers or by the band. It’s very cool.”
You can read plenty more cool tales in McConaughey’s New York Times bestselling memoir Greenlights, or jot down some of your own in the guided companion journal Greenlights: Your Journal, Your Journey. You can buy them here.
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