Matthew McConaughey’s latest film, Dallas Buyers Club, was received with a standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend. The film was screened Saturday night revealing the full transformation for McConaughey and supporting actor Jared Leto. Both stars impressed sufficiently in the debut to spark some early awards-season buzz.
Early trailer releases drew McConaughey a lot of attention for the pounds he shed to portray a Texan suffering from the ravages of HIV in the 1980’s. The star portrays the true account of Ron Woodroof who is a hard-drinking, homophobic, frustrated ladies’ man who turns to smuggling drugs when the Food and Drug Administration fails to act fast enough for him.
Reviewers say the film cuts right to the chase when it comes to defining Woodroof, and McConaughey introduces us to a man who is hostile when diagnosed, reckless in his denial and then determined in staving off death. Through the course of the movie, the actor is being praised for a charming and subtle performance that has its rough edges.
McConaughey, who is known for a regularly stunning physique, said that losing the weight, “was the easy decision… I would have been embarrassed standing here looking like I do now playing the guy.”
Leto, who portrays Rayon, a transsexual also suffering with the virus, lost significant weight for the role as well. He says, “I stopped eating,” and says it wasn’t easy. This is Leto’s return to film after a five-year hiatus to focus on fronting the band Thirty Seconds to Mars. He says he was only coming back to film for something, “he fell in love with,” and Buyers Club was it.
The Hollywood Reporter says that the movie is not about advocating self-medication or trivializing the battle many fought to encourage effective HIV treatment in America. This is a very specific story about an AIDS patient who refused to, “slink off and die quietly,” while the health industry, “dragged their heels.”
Dallas Buyers Club will be released on 1 November. It is rated R. Screenwriters Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack developed the screenplay from 25 hours of interviews with Woodroof in the early 1990’s. Also receiving praise is the film’s Canadian-born director, Jean-Marc Vallée. Other Buyers Club cast includes Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn and Griffin Dunne.
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