'Dallas Buyers Club' L.A. Premiere: Jared Leto Skips Screening, Says 'Best if I Just Let Go'

11:11 AM PST 10/18/2013 by Stephanie Chan
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From left: Jennifer Garner, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto

The actor -- who has yet to see the film -- joined Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner on the red carpet at the Academy on Thursday evening but chose not to stay for the screening.

Actors Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner hit the red carpet for the Los Angeles premiere of Dallas Buyers Club at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Thursday night.

The drama, helmed by Jean-Marc Vallee, is based on the real-life story of Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), a womanizing Texas cowboy who is diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1981. When he's told he has only 30 days to live, Woodroof tries to survive by smuggling non-FDA-approved drugs from all over the world and establishes the Dallas Buyers Club to help HIV-positive peers gain access to the life-saving medication.

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McConaughey, who shed 38 pounds for the role, listened to 25 hours of audio featuring interviews that screenwriters Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack conducted with Woodroof in 1992. The Magic Mike actor also got a hold of Woodroof's diary, which helped him discover how detailed the man was.

"[What I learned was] how meticulous he was, especially Sunday to Thursday, when he was trying to get his work and job going," McConaughey tells The Hollywood Reporter. "He'd be up at six every morning trying to get some job and you'd just see it not happening. No one would call. And he slowly started doing that small-town drifting thing where you just wander out and go get into some good trouble."

Though Woodroof acted like a tough ladies man, his diary may have suggested otherwise, as McConaughey added, "He wrote a lot of good lyrics and poems."

Jared Leto, who still hasn't seen the film, stars opposite McConaughey as the transgender woman Rayon. In addition to dropping dozens of pounds for his performance, Leto committed to the role by staying in character during the entire time on set.

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"I wanted to do a good job and I needed to focus. She had a lot going on," explained Leto to THR about why it was important to stay dressed as Rayon even when cameras weren't rolling. "I couldn't imagine losing all of that every time the director yelled cut and then recalling it when he called action. I did what I needed to do in order to deliver."

When explaining why he's avoided watching the film, Leto told reporters: "I think it's better to let some time pass. It was a very intense role and it's best if I just let go for a little while." The 30 Seconds to Mars frontman decided not to stay for the premiere and said he was going to have dinner with a couple of people instead.

Following the screening -- which was met with a long ovation -- the cast and crew celebrated with guests at the afterparty held on the first floor of the Academy's grand lobby on Wilshire Blvd. Attendees were welcomed with buffet-style servings of grilled chicken (or a tofu option for the vegetarian bunch), sauteed greens and roasted vegetables, as well as seasonally appropriate mini pumpkin creme brulees and bite-sized strawberry shortcakes from the dessert bar.

While most visitors were enjoying the gourmet dishes, one star in particular was too busy mingling with guests to have a plate in hand.

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Garner, who arrived solo without husband Ben Affleck, stars as Dr. Eve Saks, who shows sympathy toward Woodroof and his battle against the deadly virus. The actress chatted with THR and explained how she was shocked when she first saw the skeletal-looking McConaughey and Leto on set.

"I hated every minute of it," voiced Gardner about witnessing her co-stars' extreme weight loss. "All I wanted to do was feed them chicken broth or do something to get food down them. But the beautiful thing is that I feel like the fast put them both in another place mentally and allowed them to give these incredibly raw and talented performances that were so vulnerable."

The 41-year-old actress concluded: "As much as the weight loss lends credibility to what they're doing, it's really about what they gave of themselves."

Dallas Buyers Club opens in theaters Nov. 1.

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