There was a time when I would point to Matthew McConaughey‘s first movie role — David Wooderson in Dazed and Confused — as his best role in an inconsistent career overshadowed by performances in silly romantic comedies. But over the past two years McConaughey has constantly challenged himself as an actor in films like Killer Joe, Bernie, Mud, and now Dallas Buyers Club.
In Dallas Buyers Club, McConaughey portrays Ron Woodroof, a real-life Texas man who was diagnosed with HIV and defied the government by creating an organization that imported life-saving drugs from other countries, keeping himself and dozens of others alive in an era when life expectancy for those with HIV was brief. McConaughey spoke about his transformation (both physically and mentally) into Woodroof and what he thinks of the awards buzz his performance is generating.
Woodroof was diagnosed with HIV in the mid 1980s, when it was generally believed to be a “gay disease.” Naturally, McConaughey plays the heterosexual, bigoted playboy Woodroof as aghast at being diagnosed with HIV, equating the diagnosis as being accused of being gay by his doctors. McConaughey explains, “We had to go all the way unabashed with that. I would go as far as I could with the stuff that Ron thought, which was the stuff that made people go ‘You bigot, racist.'”
But upon researching Woodroof and reading his personal correspondence, McConaughey saw a man who was on a level much deeper than that bigotry. He reveals, “I saw a guy who was a dreamer and who was lonely, isolated, and who could never finish anything. He was aimless and the irony is it took him having HIV to help him find a goal.”
Part of the role including McConaughey losing 45 pounds off his normally muscular frame. The transformation is so drastic that McConaughey admits that he hardly recognized himself on screen. He says he thought, “”Whoa, you look like a reptile, man.’ I didn’t feel like I was watching me.” Yet he adds that changing his appearance led him to having to learn new ways to act, saying, “There is something valuable to not being able to use certain things that may be a strength. You use other instruments.”
Unlike other actors who feign disinterest in awards, McConaughey is very caught up in the oft-discussed possibility of an Oscar nomination for the role, which would be his first in his 20-year film career. He confesses, “I’m very excited about that possibility. I feel that it is more than fair to judge art. If that happened that’s wonderful.”
via Yahoo News