Ron Woodruff is a tough living Texan cowboy. He is played by actor Matthew McConaughey in the movie “Dallas Buyers Club”. It is 1985 and Woodruff’s free wheeling life is about to be turned upside down when he is diagnosed with AIDS.
It is the early days of the epidemic and Woodruff is given 30 days to live.
McConaughey lost 50 pounds to play the role but had he been looking for a part for which such a dramatic physical transformation was called for?
“It wasn’t, I mean it was just responsibility to the guy. I mean, a lot of roles you get are non-specific. So why over choreograph it? Why go lose 30 pounds to play a marketing advertising guy. If it doesn’t inform the truth of who the guy is, why do it,” he explained.
Actor Jared Leto plays the role of Rayon, a transgendered woman with AIDS. After a break of more than five years from acting he had just three weeks to prepare and that meant fasting to loose weight. But that was not the hardest aspect of playing the part.
“If you do it for long enough you can plateau and get to kind of periods of, that you feel great, oddly. Fasting has been used for thousands of years for people to get to, you know, know themselves or achieve some kind of state of euphoria or higher consciousness, so there’s something to that. But working while you’re fasting can be really difficult. For me it was a necessary evil because it changed everything about me. It changed the way that I walked, the way that I talked, the way that I laughed, the way that people treated me,” he said.
In the movie Woodruff joined forces with an unlikely band of renegades and outcasts tracking down alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Their shared struggle for dignity and acceptance is a uniquely American story of the transformative power of resilience.
“Dallas Buyers Club” opens in U.S. cinemas on Nov 1.