Matthew McConaughey's heart pounded 'pretty steady' in Gold tiger scene
Matthew McConaughey's heart was "pounding pretty steady" when he stroked the tiger's head in 'Gold'.
The 47-year-old actor - who plays the role of an unlucky businessman, Kenny Wells, in the American crime film - has admitted he was beyond nervous when he had to shoot the final scenes, which sees him pat a pet tiger in a bid to secure a business deal, because he was told the trainer had no power to restrain the big cat if it was to suddenly lash out and devour him.
Speaking to Vulture about the scene, the Texan hunk said: "When you see me sweating there and saying, 'I'm touching a tiger,' I didn't have to act that. That was live. But trust me, I didn't sit there touching that tiger's head for a while. My heart was pounding pretty steady."
"I talked to the trainer and got to know him pretty doggone well, and said, 'I know he's been fed, but --' and he interrupted me and said, 'Yeah, but he's still a meat-eating mammal. What he works his lips for, and what he gets pleasure from, is eating.'
"The trainer said, 'Look, I'll have him on a little wire like a leash, but I've got to be behind him. If you come up in front of him and he lunges, I can't stop the lunge. I can only stop what happens after the lunge.' He told me what the worst is that could happen, but said, 'We'll do everything to not make that happen.'"
Although McConaughey thinks it was a great end to the movie, he thinks a computer-generated image of the big cat would have been "safer" because he didn't "trust" the tiger, although it would have been less exhilarating for him.
He explained: ""We didn't quite trust that tiger as much as we trusted the tiger in New Mexico. The Thai tiger was cheaper, but he was funky, man. He had been caught out of the wild, like, yesterday.
"What a great way to finish the last day of shooting.
"A CG tiger would have been safer. Maybe more expensive. But less of a buzz."
However, the golden-haired star believes the dangerous part of the film was purposefully placed at the end of the film, in case the worst thing happened.
He quipped: "We shot that in New Mexico as the last scene of the movie, and I don't think that's coincidental. If something happened during that scene, they wouldn't need me on the screen anymore."