Matthew McConaughey On Aids Crusader Role
Matthew McConaughey has admitted that shedding weight for his latest role in the critically-acclaimed Dallas Buyers Club posed a risk to his own health.
The Oscar-nominated actor lost nearly four stone in four months to play the part of emaciated Aids victim Ron Woodroof.
"I didn't know how many pounds I would need to lose. My thought was 35 - it turned out to be 47 pounds," McConaughey told Sky News.
"It's healthier to go down than to go up. Putting the weight on or doing a role where you had to get up to 250lbs would be more dangerous I think but there are dangers that come with losing that much weight.
"The main thing is coming back slowly."
Dallas Buyers Club - which had its premiere in London on Wednesday night - is the true story of a homophobic cowboy in the 1980s who is given only 30 days to live after being diagnosed with what was known then as "the gay disease".
Unable to access anti-viral drugs in hospital, Ron Woodroof turns to the black market for alternative medicines and succeeds in keeping himself alive for another seven years.
Spotting an opportunity to get rich quick, he sells the drugs on to other Aids sufferers, saving their lives as a result.
"He's a real guy who has got this horrible disease and all of a sudden he's thrown into a horror movie and he acts out of self-preservation," says McConaughey.
"He's self-serving. He turns into a crusader, almost unbeknownst to him, but he was always out for himself. He wanted to be a businessman, he wanted to roll in money."
The issues of Aids and homophobia do not make for typical Hollywood material - the script for Dallas Buyers Club was turned down 137 times over 20 years.
But McConaughey's co-star - the 30 Seconds To Mars singer Jared Leto - says the film has an important message and is helping to change attitudes.
"There was this kid the other day - we played Mexico City - and he said 'you changed the way I look at gays'. That's the way he said it.
"He said 'thanks for that' in a very innocent and matter of fact way. It just changed his perspective."
McConaughey's portrayal of Ron Woodroof has already earned him a Golden Globe and could yet land him a best actor Oscar; Leto is nominated in the best supporting actor category for his performance.
On his chances of winning the prestigious prize, McConaughey said: "It's the Super Bowl (of award ceremonies), if you were going to use a sports term.
"They are there to give awards for excellence in film-making and I'm really happy to be part of that conversation."
Dallas Buyers Club is released in the UK on February 7.
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