Matthew McConaughey Harnesses His Salesman Roots In 'Lincoln Lawyer'

'Always have a joker up your sleeve,' actor tells MTV News of the trick to law and sales.

In "The Lincoln Lawyer," Matthew McConaughey plays unconventional defense attorney Mick Haller, a man who goes to great — and sometimes questionable — lengths to prove a client's innocence. He also conducts most of his business from the backseat of his Lincoln, bringing new life to the phrase "wheelin' and dealin'."

When MTV News caught up with McConaughey during the press day for the film, we learned some fun facts about the actor's past. First, he loves lawyers and debate and wanted to be a lawyer until his junior year in college (when he switched his major to film production). Second, McConaughey revealed that he didn't have to stretch too far to harness the wheelin' and dealin' aspects of his character.

"I come from a long line of salesmen," McConaughey said. "My father and my older brother are pipe salesmen. That's wheelin' and dealin'. I've always appreciated good salesmen. There's an art to selling. You play a different part with different clients. You don't talk to the head of the biker gang the same way you talk to the rich father in Beverly Hills or the rich mother in Beverly Hills who wants her son off and has a million dollars to put up for it; you talk to those people differently."

McConaughey went on to say that salesmen wear different hats as part of the hustle involved in the business.

"You don't show all your cards. Always have a joker up your sleeve," he said, flashing that famous sly smile.

We then asked if that bit of advice is part of his philosophy about life as well.

"[It's] pretty good to have a joker up your sleeve, it helps," he said. "You might not need it, but there are times where you go, 'Oh, there it is. Cool.' "

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