Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto know how to suffer for their art.
The usually photogenic McConaughey lost a frankly ridiculous three and half stone to play redneck AIDS sufferer Ron Woodruff in new film ‘Dallas Buyers Club’.
[Leto heckled over "trans-misogyny"]
Hi co-star shed two and half stone to play fellow AIDS victim Rayon – a transgender woman - and ended up weighing just eight stone.
As you can see from our before-and-after photos below, they look radically different from their days appearing in rubbish rom-coms/selling out stadiums. They look really ill.
We caught up with the duo to talk about the health implications of losing so much weight for a movie role - something Tom Hanks reckoned gave him diabetes. Watch our interview above.
"I wouldn’t do it at the drop of a hat, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone and I think it can be incredibly dangerous” said Leto. “But it depends what your putting into your body and taking out of it as well."
“I think people get concerned when you lose a lot of weight because you appear really ill and you’re fragile, and that’s always concerning to the people who are close to you. But it was a necessity,” he added. The actor “went method” and was in character throughout the whole shoot.
McConaughey didn’t seem as bothered. “I did it in as healthy a way as possible, I worked with a nutritionist and gave myself four months to do it. I didn’t do it in 20 days. I did in four months and so I gradually lost weight,”
“I think it would be more dangerous to put on 50 pounds, than to lose 50 pounds. Ask me in ten years how it affected me. It’s taken a long time to come back, the coming back is more dangerous than the losing.”
Losing so much weight also stopped Leto enjoying food after the film finished. “Your stomach gets so small that you can only eat a few tablespoons of something and you're full already. So you can’t go out and gorge, it doesn’t work like that. It would be fun to maybe at the end eat an entire pie, but you end up just looking at it.”
McConaughey didn’t have these issues. “I went and ate the ultimate cheeseburger. It was good.”
‘Dallas Buyers Club’ is the real life story of how Ron Woodruff smuggled unapproved AIDS drugs into America after he realised they helped his symptoms.
In the film he grudgingly befriends Leto’s Rayon to help him drum up business, but they end up becoming close friends.
The film was stuck in development hell for more than 20 years, with Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling once linked to the Woodruff role. Eventually McConaughey and director Jean-Marc Vallee managed to get the film made, but it was a struggle.
“The money fell out five weeks before we started,” said McConaughey. “We thought we’d need £8 million and 40 days [shooting time] minimum, we got 4.5 million and 25 days but we made it anyway.”
Selling the movie to investors was also a problem according to the star. “’Period piece, AIDS drama, homophobic hero’, those are three things that tell anyone investing that they will get their money back! There’s nothing that populous in that one liner.”
Thankfully for the duo the film did get made, and it’s already made quadruple its budget, and earned them both an Oscar nomination. Cheeseburgers all round, surely?