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During a Q&A that I moderated on Friday evening with Dallas Buyers Club‘s lead actor Matthew McConaughey and supporting actor Jared Leto following a SAG screening of the film, Leto revealed something about which not even McConaughey was aware, since Leto had only been notified about it himself earlier in the evening. Leto, it turns out, was sent the script for Dallas Buyers Club 15 years ago, when he was just 27 years old and the film’s script was in one of its earlier incarnations — and he never even read it!
After I raised the subject of the unusually long gestation process of Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack‘s script — which was first drafted 18 years ago and was rejected 87 times by different studios before finally getting made — Leto interjected, “I ran into someone just an hour ago who sent me the Dallas Buyers Club script 15 years ago!” McConaughey was clearly shocked and said, “Oh, yeah? You read it 15 years ago?!” Not joking, but with perfect comedic timing, Leto replied, “I didn’t read it.”
The audience erupted in laughter, at which point Leto pointed at McConaughey and said, “Movie star,” and then pointed at himself and said, “Not a movie star.” He added, “Read your scripts!” McConaughey, for his part, chuckled and added, “I’m glad you didn’t read it then.”
At the time, Leto was appearing in Girl, Interrupted (1999) and shooting Requiem for a Dream and American Psycho (both 2000) — projects with which Leto might not have been involved had he read and been cast as Rayon back then.
It’s amazing how one left turn or right turn can change movie history forever!
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