Leto Opens Up About His 'Dallas' Transformation

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Jared Leto has been one of Hollywood's most desired men since breaking out in 1994's My So-Called Life, but he's developed a profound respect for women as a result of his latest role.

In Dallas Buyers Club, Leto plays a transsexual named Rayon and tells ET the process of transforming into her has been life changing. "It's a lot of work to be a pretty little girl. I have a newfound respect for women in general," he said at The IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards.

FIRST LOOK: Leto Drags It Up

"I waxed my entire body, including my eyebrows. I've lost a lot of weight because I'm playing a young person with AIDS. It's been challenging but really inspiring too." Leto told me that it was the opportunity to tell this story that lured him back to acting.

"I haven't made a movie in 5 years. I thought it was a beautifully written script [and] a wonderful character, who I just fell in love with. I figured if I was going to come back and act again, this was the one to do it."

Clearly Matthew McConaughey felt similarly about this story, as he recently revealed the startling 38-pound weight loss he underwent to play an AIDS patient. "I feel good, now," McConaughey said. "Overall, probably got 35 percent less energy. The tough part, there have been plateaus."

RELATED - Matthew McConaughey Talks Buyers Weight Loss

"Getting past 170 was really hard, but then once you get into the 167, the next 7 come off easy. Getting past 160, really hard. But then you fly down to 150. Getting past 150 was really hard. And then, bam, got down to 143 and that's where I want to be. Once you get past the plateau, the body seems to understand, 'OK this is where we're living now, this is where we are,' so the energy rises."

Dallas Buyers Club is due in theaters next year.