McConaughey and Leto: Inspirations on and off Screen

McConaughey and Leto: Inspirations on and off Screen

Lily Newland, Associate Editor

The critically acclaimed “Dallas Buyers Club” directed by Jean-Marc Vallée is an incredible and heart wrenching story of Ron Woodruff (Matthew McConaughey), who has been diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and given only 30 days to live. At the beginning of the movie Woodruff is portrayed as a homophobic rodeo bull rider who has little concern for others and an extremely swollen ego. After being informed that he in fact is infected by the deadly HIV virus, which quickly develops into AIDS, Woodruff’s arrogance is depleted through empathy and pain, now a man fighting for his life and the life of others despite harsh criticisms and legal setbacks. With the help of another victim of the HIV virus, Rayon (Jared Leto), he creates ‘The Dallas Buyers Club’ in which he provides unapproved drugs to members in exchange for monthly dues.

Not only did Ron Woodruff make a huge transformation, but Matthew McConaughey himself. He went through a 6-month fasting period in which he lost over 40 pounds to match his role of an HIV/AIDS victim who often lose considerable amounts of weight once infected with the disease. Most of his weight loss was due to a strict diet:
“I ate a lot of fish, but only five ounces of it, and then a cup of vegetables,” McConaughey told Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz at a junket for the drama at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. “That would be twice a day.”
When asked about how the weight loss affected his life in an interview about the movie he quoted: “Overall, I think it was an incredibly healthy thing I did for myself. It was a sixth month fast, and that’s good I think, mentally very good, and spiritually very good.” McConaughey’s dedication to physically and mentally become his role is remarkable. Prior to the “Dallas Buyers Club” he had been a pretty brawny and fit guy, but thinning out was a sacrifice which turned out not only to benefit him, but also his audience. He truly succeeded in making the moving story of Ron Woodruff come to life on the screen and also causing a lot of buzz the Oscars.

Not to mention Jared Leto who co-starred as ‘Rayon’, the outgoing and witty transsexual who becomes Woodruff’s business partner after winning a game of cards in the hospital. Leto almost gave up his acting career before receiving the role, usually seen as a handsome rocker; he made a huge transformation and put out an amazing performance. Leto says he is in almost disbelief over hearing about a possible Oscar nomination, but to most of his audience, he is more than worthy.

“Dallas Buyers Club” is an extremely inspiring story, showing how even a challenge as big as that of Ron Woodruff’s, can be overcome and actually be a growing and learning experience. It has received raved reviews and is considered to be one of the best films of the year with the performances of both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.