Dallas Buyers Club Interview
Dallas Buyers Club Interview
It’s an extraordinary film and it’s obviously going to have a huge impact on audiences. Has it changed you as a person having made it?

Matthew McConaughey

I question authority more clearly. Somebody asked me that question about eight months ago and I noticed that I’d written my first two letters to congressmen and senators, that I’m sure had to do with me sitting there doing my best trying to inhabit Ron Woodroof and question authority. It reminded me that if you want something doing right, do it yourself on a daily level.

A personal moment for me, which was probably the most difficult, but enlightening scene, is where Ron goes to the doctor and says, ‘Look, I’m dying here and you’re telling me to go and get a hug.’ And understanding that word and admitting that sort of mortality was a personal shock for me, which hit me personally. How many times in life do you have to get the greatest opposition in the world – which is ‘I’ve got to fend off death’ - and we all know it’s coming, but how many times do people really come alive in their own life and relationships?

And I know I’ve looked at my life and said, ‘What are the most important things that have helped me to become a man?’ My father dying was one, so it’s interesting having to face death or having someone around you that goes through it, to see what it does to us as people.
Jared, did this role change you too?

Jared Leto

In a lot of ways. I’ve said this before, but film can change us. I remember being a kid and watching films. I remember when I was young, when I saw The Killing Fields or I saw Empire of the Sun or The Last Emperor, movies that showed me a part of the world that I’d never dreamed of before. Or I would walk out of a big popcorn movie and want to be that person onscreen or inhabit some of those characteristics of bravery, adventure and so on.

And I think here, Rayon was a very kind, big-hearted, fun, funny and graceful human being and I would love to hold on to some of those qualities personally.
Actors are diversifying a lot more now. Matthew, you’re working in TV and Jared, you’re working in music. Do you feel that the opportunities for what you want to do are now opening up as the venues are opening up?

Matthew McConaughey

For me, that bridge from film to television is sort of a wash now. There’s been quality and arguably some of the better jobs have been on the small screen for a while. When I read Nic Pizzolatto’s first two scripts [for True Detective], the quality was so obvious that I didn’t have hesitate at the fact that it was small screen at all.

Jared Leto

I guess people have always done a lot of different things. I like what Andy Warhol said: ‘Labels are for cans, not for people.’ And I think it’s more and more common for all of us to do many different things now and that’s fine, it’s exciting. It’s nice that we don’t have to work the same job for 30, 40 years, get a watch and retire.
Jared, you give a wonderfully nuanced performance. Have you had any feedback from the gay and transgender community about how you’ve played Rayon?

Jared Leto

Yeah, I’ve had an incredible amount of love and support and that’s where I started. When I did my research, I started investigating and met with transgender people and they were incredibly kind, supportive and generous with their time and energy, and they showed me the ropes. I think that’s pretty common in that world to have a mentor, so people are really happy to pass down information about what it’s like to tell your parents who you really are, what it’s like to try to be more feminine and some of the mistakes that you may make as a good cover. And so it was really nice, I think people know that we have the right intentions in place and that we tried our very best. I hope that’s clear.
Matthew, Ron is obviously a very rampant homophobe and he goes through a very subtle change. Would you have played the role if he’d not had that slight redemption?

Matthew McConaughey

Well, the redemption that Ron has always needed to be somewhat subtle because that’s who he was. So the challenge that we saw early on, but also the originality of this, was that he did not have this third-act turn of, ‘Oh my god, who was I? I need to apologise.’ He didn’t have this revelation or epiphany. He’s essentially the same guy, that same son-of-a-bitch that you meet early, those same traits that kept him alive for seven more years. [linebeak]
We were very conscious that we’d seen the version and it would be false if we told the version of the guy who goes, ‘Oh no, I need to be more utilitarian. I’m a crusader.’ Ron never had that. By keeping him as the hardcore, selfish businessman, by keeping him this cantankerous SOB, we said, ‘Trust that the humanity is going to rise, that the crusader is going to rise to the top.’ Because he’s a real person, that’s how he was and so we never wanted to tie it up and make it, ‘Oh and the moral of the story is…’ [linebeak]
And I think that’s what one of thing is that helps separate the film and what’s working on a lot of levels is that people do say, ‘Oh wow, at first I couldn’t understand this guy…’ and then they root for him. My opinion was that I’m not worried about people sympathising with Ron, but if he’s a real guy, you will empathise with him. And he was a real person and our hope was that if we stuck with that, the heart of the story is going to appear.
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