Actors Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto really went the extra mile both physically and emotionally for their upcoming roles in The Dallas Buyers Club, so much so that McConaughey's co-stars didn't recognize him!
The film, out Nov. 1, chronicles the real-life story of drug addict Ron Woodroof (McConaughey) who is diagnosed with HIV. After learning of his illness, Ron begins smuggling illegal but effective HIV medication into the US, and selling them to others afflicted with the virus.
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Leto plays a transgender woman named Rayon, also suffering from HIV, who helps Ron sell the medication.
In preparation for playing the role of someone dying from AIDS, both actors dropped an astounding amount of weight. For Leto, it was 30 pounds, while McConaughey shed nearly 40.
"I didn't recognize Matthew when I first saw him," said actor Michael O'Neill. "I was maybe 13 feet away from him and literally didn't recognize him."
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A dramatic weight loss wasn't the only way McConaughey prepared for the role. Since the 43-year-old is portraying a real person, he did quite a bit of research.
"Because it was a real guy, I had a lot of research. I had a lot of tapes of him, a lot of manuscripts," McConaughey said of his preparation. "I met his family, and they sort of opened up their living room to me and told me all kinds of stories."
Leto's preparation was also intense. Aside from his dramatic slim-down, the 41-year-old stayed in character during the entire production.
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"Rayon was my life for the entire time," said Leto. "I was completely focused and I enjoyed every single second. It was a wonderful challenge."
Check out the video for more from the stars, including the extreme measures Leto went through to play a transgender character.