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Review: 'Dallas Buyers Club' star Jared Leto transcends trans role

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Dallas Buyers Club (film)


Jared Leto's performance as the hard-fighting trans character Rayon in "Dallas Buyers Club" may be the easiest prediction in the Oscar categories this year. He's the odds-on favorite to win Best Supporting Actor.

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The film (which is also nominated for Best Picture) is about the true story of Ron Woodruff (played by Matthew McConaughey) who is portrayed as a heavy-drrinking homophobe good-old-boy who has AIDS and is given a month to live.

The reality from people in the know is that Woodruff was actually an openly bisexual guy, and the trans character of Rayon wasn't part of the real-life story, although there were people similar to the Leto character.

Woodroof's tenacity caused drugs to be sold to people with the disease, which he got from Mexico and Japan, and distributed through a co-op called the Dallas Buyers Club. The real-life Woodruff was never a homophobe and was himself, a perfectly out and contented bisexual.

Leto's characterization of Rayon is not a typical trans comic relief character, and in fact the portrayal is multi-dimensional and poignant.

The 42-year-old Leto made no secret about diving into the role completely, dressing as a woman as much as possible and interviewing and spending time with trans people throughout the shoot. When challenged at a screening of the movie about why he is portraying a trans person, he replied: "Because I'm a man, I don't deserve to play that part?' Jared said. 'So you want to hold a role against someone who happened to be gay or lesbian – they can't play a straight part?" (See MailOnline)

By living the role as much as possible, Leto's characterization misses the easy stereotypes of a role like this. Leto said he didn't think that his character was intimately physical with McConaughey's character, nor was Rayon bisexual like Woodruff, but truly believed he was a trans woman.

"I was in character as much as humanly possible," said Leto."When you wax your eyebrows and lose 40 pounds it's hard to escape the physical side of that."


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