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Dallas Buyers Club Cast Q&A uncovers Best Picture Nominee

As we approach the final day of voting (Feb 25, 2014) for the 86th Academy Awards, we take you behind-the-scenes for a special “Dallas Buyers Club” Cast Q&A at The Paley Center in Los Angeles. You can also watch Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner in our Q&A VIDEO. The film has six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor for McConaughey and Best Support Actor for Leto.

Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner and Jean-Marc Vallee at Dallas Buyers Q&A
Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner and Jean-Marc Vallee at Dallas Buyers Q&A
Liz H Kelly
Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto at "Dallas Buyers Club" Q&A
Liz H Kelly

How ironic to think that “Dallas Buyers Club” almost didn’t get made because the funding got pulled right before shooting started, and now may win Best Picture on Sunday? Because Matthew McConaughey had already lost 35 pounds for the film, he pushed to go forward without the funding.

And it’s a good thing that the money showed up because this film is not only based on a true story in 1985, but it’s a very telling film about how the American medical system and the FDA dealt with HIV Aids in the early days.

When Ron Woodruff (Matthew McConaughey) gets diagnosed with HIV, he finds himself in the hospital where he meets Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner) and Rayon (Jared Leto) who is an HIV-positive transgender woman.

Because there is not enough AZT for everyone in need, Ron bribes a hospital worker to get him AZT, only to find his health deteriorates. As his days become numbered, Ron drives to a Mexican hospital in desperation to get more AZT. To his surprise, Dr. Vass (Griffin Dunne) tells Ron that AZT really "kills every cell it comes into contact with" and gives him alternative drugs.

These alternative meds become Ron’s new business, which he offers to members of the “Dallas Buyers Club” with the help of Dr Eve Saks and Rayon. And the performances by Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner make “Dallas Buyers Club” a must-see film and Best Picture likely.

During this special screening Q&A, Matthew McConaughey shared how he researched to play this role by meeting Ron Woodroof’s family, “There was so much, and the family was so fair and honest about who Ron was, who he was not, they were not sugar coating him in any kind of martyrdom.”

Matthew McConaughey expanded on his secret, “The diary that his family gave me, that was my secret weapon, that’s what gave me the monologue of the guy….That’s what really empowered me,…now I had the man who he was when he was all alone with himself. Not who he was talking to you about Dallas Buyers Club, he was a salesman, but I got a piece when I got the diary,….he was trying to sell things to himself.”

Jared Leto also gave a brilliant performance as Rayon (who was not a real person). When asked about preparing for his role, Jared Leto reflected, “I think I was lucky because I didn’t have some of the constraints that can come along with the obligation you can feel when you take on a character that actually lived. She does feel…as real as ever to me now. Some days I miss her a bit. There’s so much to fall in love with there. She had so much grace and charm. I would hope that if I was ever faced with those enormous challenges that I would have some of those same incredible qualities that she did.”

Playing the rock in the movie, Jennifer Garner, spoke about her character Dr Eve Saks, “It was tricky…Jean Marc (Director) and I talked a lot about not having too much fun and keeping it simple and not playing up to the performances around me because these guys were having such a good time and you couldn’t help but feel, I want to do that, but just keeping her who she was, a medical professional who has seen all this before…and just staying true to her, and it was really well-written.”

Looking back on the life of Ron and the film, Matthew added, “And HIV ironically is when Ron Woodroof, in my opinion, really found purpose and direction in his life, sad but true, he found the first thing to fight for 24/7, and he did it for seven more years.”

We’ll all be looking back on Monday morning after the Oscars on Sunday, March 2, 2014. “Dallas Buyers Club” may win all six awards after winning top honors at the Golden Globes because this film and the acting is just that good. And no matter how it all ends up, this classic film will be watched and studied as part of our history for many years.

© Liz H Kelly @LizHKelly, National Digital Entertainment Columnist and Goody PR

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