Matthew McConaughey's character in Dallas Buyers Club is an unlikely hero in the early fight against AIDS.
'He’s a bastard, son of a bitch, homophobe, bigot with a seventh-grade education, a two-bit electrician cowboy who gets the HIV and becomes a scientist,' McConaughey tells The Wrap of the real-life character of Ron Woodruff.
Woodruff, a straight electrician from Texas, contracted HIV from drug use and at one point was given 30 days to live by a doctor in the early 1980s.
But he was able to extend his life by more than seven years after discovering alternative treatments around the world. He turns his discoveries into a thriving business as he sells his supplies to other AIDS sufferers.
Along the way, Woodruff becomes less bigoted and in the film, becomes close friends with his business partner, a transgender woman played by Jared Leto.
Both men lost close to 40 pounds for the movie.
'It’s an amazing story, and it was original,' McConaughey says. 'It was from a heterosexual’s point of view, and he never raises the flag and says, “Everyone follow me!” Early on, we said, “Just show who this guy was." ... Stick with him being the businessman, and the crusader will emerge. Stick with him being the bastard with crazy conspiracy theories and blasphemous sadistic humor, and the humanity will emerge.'
Dallas Buyers Club opens in select US cities Friday (1 November).