The Origins of the Matthew McConaughey Chest Thumping Scene in “Wolf of Wall Street”

The chest thumping scene done by Matthew McConaughey in Wolf of Wall Street was a fun moment to watch and something that seems like it might have been scripted just to give a little flavor to the scene. But the truth is that it was unscripted and more than that, it was and still is a relaxation technique that McConaughey uses before each scene. He was doing this when they were on set one day and Leonardo DiCaprio happened to notice it. He then asked Matthew if they could do it for a scene, sort of a way to cap off the day as they’d already done five takes and were pretty happy with what they’d done.

As Mark Hanna, McConaughey was somewhere in the middle between being a sleaze and being an awesome boss since he took Jordan under his wing and taught him everything he knew about the business so as to mold him into another broker that could be a great asset. The only problem, well there were many of them, was that Mark was a cocaine addict and kind of a nutcase really. But he knew his job and he knew how to live according to his own standards. As far as the chest-thumping thing went it was a way to show his newest broker just how to get into rhythm and how to calm himself down and enjoy the spoils of what would soon come. Once you see how that worked out in the movie you can easily surmise that Jordan took every word that Mark gave him to heart, since even after the crash that came along Jordan found a way to get back on top again and keep climbing.

Apparently McConaughey still does the chest thumping mantra on every set he’s on, but the tempo and the mantra changes according to what he’s doing and what he needs it to be as he’s said. That makes sense as you wouldn’t want to cite a mantra that had more to do with a past movie than it does with the one you’re currently on. It’s easy to see though why more movies wouldn’t incorporate this though it seems that Matthew might say yes more often if people asked. It is a nice little addition into some scenes but in others it seems like it would take too much away without making sense as it pertained to the film. In Wolf of Wall Street the scene just fit the character and was perfectly executed in a way that didn’t take away or make a needless addition. Therefore it was probably easy to allow such an addition without making any undue fuss over it.

Matthew McConaughey though is the kind of actor that can easily improvise but doesn’t always do so. He sticks to the script a lot but can take a moment and make it into something else if he absolutely has to. That’s how strong of a character he is, that he can make something out of virtually nothing and make it stick.

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