Matthew McConaughey has been a part of several iconic productions over the years, ranging from Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused to the extremely popular HBO crime series True Detective. Especially for his powerful performance in the latter, he received a lot of critical acclaim as well as prestigious accolades.
However, one of the most memorable appearances in McConaughey’s entire career came in the form of a supporting role. Emerging as a highly popular part of online meme culture, the scene propelled him towards greater stardom and transformed him into a much bigger global icon than he was at the time.
The aforementioned scene was McConaughey’s mesmerising performance in the Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street, starring as an eccentric, veteran stock broker who acts as the mentor for a young Leonardo DiCaprio starting out in the ruthless domain of American capitalism. McConaughey’s improvised interpretation of the character sealed the deal, turning the entire scene into something magical.
In an interview, the actor looked back on his work and compared the mannerisms of the character to musical flow. McConaughey said: “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.”
McConaughey’s portrayal of a Wall Street veteran is simply hilarious; he advocates for regular masturbation sessions and asks the young stock broker (DiCaprio’s character) to use cocaine in order to maintain his cool. While these details were cool, the action that became famous was McConaughey’s improvised, meditative chest thumping and humming.
The actor added: “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?!'”
The Wolf of Wall Street had a lot of unforgettable moments featuring incredibly talented characters but McConaughey’s supporting role is definitely one of the standout scenes. He describes it perfectly when he says: “It’s funny. It’s anarchic. It’s inconsiderate. But it’s empowering at the same time, and it’s fun.”
Watch the iconic scene below.