Long-planned dramedy 'Dallas Buyer's Club' close to getting made, Matthew McConaughey says
When we asked readers last week to weigh in on the unproduced film they'd most like to see get made, one of the more intriguing replies on this blog and on Twitter was "The Dallas Buyer's Club."
A much-beloved script in Hollywood circles that even the big guns haven't been able to get off the ground -- Brad Pitt has tried; so has Ryan Gosling -- could it finally be ready to take flight with Matthew McConaughey, Hilary Swank and "Young Victoria" director Jean-Marc Vallee?
In an interview with 24 Frames, McConaughey said the independent movie is nearer than ever to getting financed and made.
"We're real close," he said. "The question is do we have enough days -- we need 40," he said, alluding to the length of production, a variable directly tied to a film's budget. Producers were raising money for the independent movie via the sale of foreign rights at the recently concluded Cannes Film Festival.
Although the actor has several projects in development, he said he was ready to rearrange his schedule and make this one next if the money comes through (though he acknowledged other top actors once attached to the project have said much the same thing).
Craig Borten's script -- which over the years has been rewritten by some big names, including Guillermo Ariaga -- has been in development for about a decade. Inspired by real events, it tells of Ron Woodroof, a heterosexual Dallas electrician who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, during some of the darkest days of the disease. Doctors gave him just a few months to live, but he refused to accept their prognosis.
Instead, Woodroof created a smuggling operation for alternative treatments, then illegal, and got them into the hands of as many AIDS patients as he could. He wound up living six more years and saved or prolonged the lives of countless others.
McConaughey conceded that it's "not the type of fare that studios make; it's heavy subject matter." But he said that "at the same time, it's hilarious in a very real way," with much of the humor coming out of the character's outsized personality.
McConaughey offers a different kind of dark comedy to Angelenos when his new movie "Bernie" opens the Los Angeles Film Festival. The film reunites the actor with Texas auteur Richard Linklater, who helped put him on the map with the suburban high-school comedy "Dazed and Confused" 18 years ago.
In "Bernie," McConaughey plays a district attorney who prosecutes a musicals-loving mortician (Jack Black) for a horrible crime committed in a backwoods eastern Texas town.
"This felt like being back in 'Dazed,' " McConaughey said of the reunion with the director. "It's Rick putting a long lens on something, showing you something behind the curtain. And you think, 'Could this really exist?' "
Photo: Matthew McConaughey in "Dazed and Confused." Credit: Gramercy Pictures