Matthew McConaughey Reveals How That Chest Beating 'Wolf of Wall Street' Really Came About

Matthew McConaughey Reveals How That Chest Beating 'Wolf of Wall Street' Really Came About

Well, it's official: Matthew McConaughey really is the laid-back hippie that America has always wanted him to be. 

On a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, McConaughey explained the origin of the iconic The Wolf of Wall Street chest-beating scene as simply one of his real-life antics that found its way onto the screen. Early in the film, Leonardo DiCaprio's Jordan Belfort goes out to lunch with his boss, played by McConaughey, who teaches him the secrets of working on Wall Street (namely, drugs and sex). In the middle of a fancy New York restaurant, McConaughey curiously starts beating his chest and humming a rhythm, urging Jordan to join in. 


It's a stunning sequence that offers a glimpse of the upcoming oddities the viewer will bear witness to, and reveals Jordan's seduction to the manic, savage rhythm of Wall Street life. But as MCConaughey tells Norton, the caveman-like chest-beating didn't come from the brilliant mind of director Martin Scorsese.


"That's something I'll do before scenes to relax myself, get my voice to drop. I've been doing it for a while, but it's just something I do," he says in his typical, easygoing McConaughey style, as if it's a perfectly normal thing everyone does. 

DiCaprio spotted McConaughey off-camera, casually beating his chest, and asked Scorsese if they could put it into the movie. McConaughey saw some genius in this, explaining on the show (as he snaps and beats his chest some more), "Now I'm getting him on the same rhythm, because now he understands, pass the torch."

Beyond being a smart film-making move, the origin of the scene proves that Dazed and Confused-era McConaughey lives on, humming himself into a zen-like rhythm before going into any performance. "On the way down the hallway I was sure humming and making noises," he says. "I wasn't beatin' my chest, but I was definitely finding a rhythm."

Here's to hoping his next movie finds McConaughey naked and playing the bongos — you know, just finding his rhythm with the world.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Alexandra Svokos

Alexandra is a 2014 Columbia University graduate and Editor at IvyGate. Previously she served as editor-in-chief of Bwog.com, a campus news site. She majored in nonfiction creative writing and economics. Alexandra has always been interested in music - whether it's opera, rap, or rock - and the emerging forms of digital media and interactions. Reach her at asvokos@gmail.com with fun stories.

MORE FROM

HBO programming president defends ‘Confederate,’ says network is “standing by” the writers

“We could’ve done a better job with the press rollout,” HBO programming president Casey Bloys admitted.

‘Game of Thrones’: These are the funniest people to follow on Twitter for live updates

A good tweet is the best antidote to scenes like Sam cutting open Mormont's greyscale sores.

Let’s overanalyze these ‘Game of Thrones’ photos from “The Queen’s Justice”

Jon Snow's going to meet his Aunt Daenerys.

‘Dunkirk’ is a Christopher Nolan movie that doesn’t need to be solved

For his new World War II epic, the puzzle-focused filmmaker decided to adjust his approach to storytelling.

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson talk ‘Broad City’ season 4 and their prayers for Hillary Clinton

"Art has just become exponentially more political since the election," Glazer said.

Jenny Slate’s raw, honest exploration of female sexuality is the most riveting part of ‘Landline’

Gillian Robespierre and Elisabeth Holm's new film lets its women characters express their sexual desires on their own terms.

HBO programming president defends ‘Confederate,’ says network is “standing by” the writers

“We could’ve done a better job with the press rollout,” HBO programming president Casey Bloys admitted.

‘Game of Thrones’: These are the funniest people to follow on Twitter for live updates

A good tweet is the best antidote to scenes like Sam cutting open Mormont's greyscale sores.

Let’s overanalyze these ‘Game of Thrones’ photos from “The Queen’s Justice”

Jon Snow's going to meet his Aunt Daenerys.

‘Dunkirk’ is a Christopher Nolan movie that doesn’t need to be solved

For his new World War II epic, the puzzle-focused filmmaker decided to adjust his approach to storytelling.

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson talk ‘Broad City’ season 4 and their prayers for Hillary Clinton

"Art has just become exponentially more political since the election," Glazer said.

Jenny Slate’s raw, honest exploration of female sexuality is the most riveting part of ‘Landline’

Gillian Robespierre and Elisabeth Holm's new film lets its women characters express their sexual desires on their own terms.