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Matt Bomer on losing more than 35 pounds to play man dying of AIDS in The Normal Heart

Matt Bomer on losing more than 35 pounds to play man dying of AIDS in The Normal Heart

Viewers will see a much different Matt Bomer when the AIDS drama The Normal Heart premieres on HBO next month.

Bomer will initially appear to be his trim, athletic self that viewers of his TV series White Collar are used to seeing. But his character of Felix Turner, a gay New York Times character, then begins to waste away after having contracted AIDS.

There’s no CGI involved to give Bomer a skeletal figure – the actor worked hard to dramatically lose weight during a three-month break in filming.

‘I stopped weighing myself after losing 35 pounds,’ he says in the new issue of Details magazine. ‘I thought the number wasn’t the important thing to focus on. This wasn’t (TV weight loss show) Biggest Loser.’

The movie version of Larry Kramer’s landmark 1985 play had decades of setbacks before Glee and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy came on board to direct and a cast including Bomer, Molina, Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Jim Parsons was signed.

Murphy tells Details: ‘Matt was the first person I felt would do whatever it took to be true to the history of the part and to the millions of people who have died because of this disease. I needed somebody who was a protector of that. That meant going on a really dangerous, incredibly severe diet and going to a dark place emotionally.’

Bomer says of the weight loss requirement: ‘That’s what I signed up for. That’s my job. And it’s the least I could do for Larry Kramer.’

After consulting with doctors, the 36-year-old Bomer went on a 21-day alkalized-water, juice, tea, and enzyme cleanse.

He also spoke with Matthew McConaughey who lost 4o pounds to play an AIDS sufferer in Dallas Buyers Club and won an Oscar for his performance.

‘He called me and walked me through what he did,’ Bomer recalls. ‘It was very generous, but I took a slightly different path.’

Co-star Alfred Molina was stunned with the results.

‘When I first saw Matt from across the room after the hiatus, he was walking with a cane. I didn’t recognize him. He looked like a fragile old man,’ Molina says in the article.