Dallas Buyers Club Interview
Dallas Buyers Club Interview
Based on a true story, Dallas Buyers Club is an Oscar-nominated film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and starring Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof, a Texan electrician who after being diagnosed with HIV, smuggles illegal anti-viral medication in from Mexico to help himself and those in his titular club.

Here Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto (who both received Oscar nominations for their performances) discuss their drastic weight loss for the film, the gruelling shooting process and what it felt like to watch the finished product for the first time, or in Leto’s case, not at all.
Congratulations to you both on your Oscar nominations. Jared, I read somewhere that you’ve won over 30 awards for this role already. Is this true?

Jared Leto

[Laughs] That’s what they say. Who knew there were 30 awards to win? It’s slightly embarrassing, I don’t know why because it shouldn’t be. It’s incredible and pretty wild.
And Matthew, you’ve won a few awards as well. Are you keeping count?

Matthew McConaughey

No, but I don’t think it’s 30. [Laughs]
Matthew, you’ve said in the past that roles like this don’t appear on the actor’s desk very often, so when it did, did you know of the origins of this movie?

Matthew McConaughey

It had been around for over 15 years when it had gotten to my desk and I had no idea. I remember reading it thinking, ‘Boy, this works as good entertainment and as an important story even if it was fiction,’ but it wasn’t, it was based on a real man’s life. Obviously dealing with the subject of HIV at the time it came on the scene in America, that was going to have a lot of heart and a lot of meaning. It was also sad and dramatic in ways, but here was this guy, this real anarchist, who after given 30 days to live, by any means necessary - through the law, around the law, whatever way he could figure out - found a way to live seven more years.

It was never a super-sentimental story, which was an original part of this script. It’s really a wild, wonderful ride that this guy takes us on dealing with the subject that could have gone sentimental. And I just thought it was highly original. I didn’t know anything about it, I knew nothing about the buyers’ clubs at that time, but I dove in and I knew I had to do it, but I didn’t know when. Nobody had really put the money up to make it for the 15 years prior.
Speaking of the film’s tortured history, a lot of actors and directors were attached to it over the years and almost Jared Leto at one point. Jared, didn’t it land on your desk about 15 years ago?

Jared Leto

Yeah, a friend of mine named Danny called me up and said, ‘My buddy has this script’, which immediately makes you want to hang up the phone. [Laughs] Anytime your buddy has this script, you know it’s something to avoid at all costs, but he sent it over and it was very much a rough draft. It wasn’t a real script, meaning there wasn’t any financing or any backing involved, so I kind of just let it go. But 15 years later, or whatever it was, I ended up reading it.

Matthew McConaughey

How soon did you remember that?

Jared Leto

I didn’t remember that until after I’d made the film. But I think it’s a testament to the story and the will of the filmmakers that they stuck with this and the good thing about it having not been made for 15 years or whatever is that all of that will, all of that perseverance and energy got concentrated into the script and it’s all the better for it.

Matthew McConaughey

When we finally did get into the game and started rolling, everybody had that feeling that we were all walking the plank and part of that is the 20 years it took to get it made.
Ben Affleck gave a lovely speech last year at the Oscars about second chances, and this is a film about a second chance. Do you see your career, with all of these five-star movies in a row, as some sort of second chance?

Matthew McConaughey

You know, it’s a new time in my life, that I said I wanted to rethink what I’m doing to my career right now. I did spend some time and made a conscious decision to say, ‘Look, I don’t feel like doing some of the roles that are similar to what I had been doing, you know, those action adventures, romantic comedies and such.’ So before I said, ‘This is what I want to do,’ I had to say, ‘No I don’t want to that now right now.’ And somewhere in that period, which was about a year-and-a-half to two years where nothing came in, I can say safely that I gained a little anonymity by being in the shadows and I became a fresh idea for people like William Friedkin and Steven Soderbergh.

Those roles found me at that time, unlike Dallas Buyers Club, which is something that I had and tried to push through. But the roles that I think you’re speaking of, they kind of came to me and part of it was going in the shadows, sitting back and saying, ‘I’m going to let the right thing come to me and find me.’
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Content updated: 19/10/2019 16:24

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