Matthew McConaughey looks so much like, and has the same “swagger” the real Ron Woodroof, his part in The Dallas Buyer’s Club,(Limited release Nov. 1) that Mr. Woodroof’s family can’t bare to look at him. His sister Sharon, who was happy with the selection of McConaughey, told The Daily Mail: “It’s very hard to see. I don’t go on the internet.”
The actor lost over 40 pounds to play electrician Ron Woodroof, a homophobic womanizer and drug user who led a pretty wild life and contracted HIV in 1980s. He had no idea he carried the virus and by the time he found out after a work accident, he had full-blown AIDS.
When he received his diagnosis in 1986, Woodroof was given only a few months to live. Instead he lived for six years, six years he spent studying the disease and running a company that sourced, and even smuggled alternative and experimental AIDS drugs into the U.S.
He formed a “buyers club” in a motel room in Texas for patients interested in trying out his drugs. The FDA was slow moving to approve new drugs, and dying AIDS patients were desperate to alleviate their pain and prolong their life. Woodroof charged a fee to buy into the club, and then the drugs were free. The FDA looked the other way. At the time Brad Stone, a spokesman for the FDA, said as much: “We allow personal quantities of AIDS treatments to be brought into the country if they are not on our import alert list. At this point, we aren’t aware of any AIDS drugs being on that list.”
“We are not trying to make money on these drugs,” Mr. Woodroof the Dallas Morning News in 1989. “We have a 17 percent gross markup or less. It covers the basic product cost and shipping.’