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Pictured: Real life AIDs victim Ron Woodroof whose tragic life is being played by Matthew McConaughey in movie The Dallas Club
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PUBLISHED: 17:14 EST, 6 December 2012 | UPDATED: 03:03 EST, 7 December 2012
The shocking images of a skeletal Matthew McConaughey’s extreme weight loss for his latest film role have stunned the world.
But for two women in Texas they are almost unbearable to look at.
Sharon Woodroof Braden, 70, and Yvette Carroll, 42, have had years to try to come to terms with the agony of losing Ron Woodroof – Sharon’s brother and Yvette’s father to AIDS.
Art and life: Matthew McConaughey's astonishing physical transformation to tell Ron Woodroof’s, left, courageous story in The Dallas Buyers Club means they will soon see his brave battle relived on the big screen
Hero: Instead of accepting the death sentence, Ron studied the disease and its effects on the body and created a business, sourcing and smuggling non-FDA approved medication and alternative drugs for AIDS patients
But McConaughey's astonishing physical transformation to tell Ron’s courageous story in The Dallas Buyers Club means they will soon see his brave battle relived on the big screen.
These exclusive photos of Ron, who is described as a heterosexual, homophobic electrician, as he fought the disease show just what a remarkable resemblance McConaughey has achieved for his portrayal.
Speaking from her home in Como, Texas, Sharon said: 'It’s very hard to see. I don’t go on the internet.
Sharon said: 'Matthew is definitely looking like he’s gone down that path. His eyes, that is the main thing, the way he is doing his eyes'
Pioneer: Ron's determination and tenacity enabled him to live for six more years, pushing legislation through the courts, promoting awareness of the disease and helping countless other AIDS patients in the process
Accurate: Matthew McConaughey is being tipped for an Oscar for the role of Ron Woodroof after losing 40 pounds to portray a man dying from AIDs
Troubled life: When he was alive Ron was a drug user and had many girlfriends, leaving his family unclear exactly how he contracted HIV
'It’s hard to look back whenever you’ve lived through it; it’s really hard to look back at something like that. So I don’t look at the pictures that much.
'The pictures of Matthew are breathtaking though. They look so like what Ronnie looked like when he was sick and how the disease progressed.
'Matthew is definitely looking like he’s gone down that path. His eyes, that is the main thing, the way he is doing his eyes.
'I’m not looking at his body as much as his face and his face certainly taken on the look of someone with AIDS. Matthew is so in character it is unreal.'
Personality: Woodroof's relatives said that in the past, studios have suggested that Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling play the title character, but they feel that Matthew McConaughey's personality fit with the real-life Ron (pictured)
Dedicated method: Matthew went through the drastic change to portray the role of Ron Woodroof in The Dallas Buyers Club
Ron – who Sharon and Yvette affectionately call Ronnie – was an extraordinary character who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986 and given just six months to live.
CELEBRITIES WITH THE DISEASE
Freddie Mercury, pop star (1946-1991)
The Queen frontman was openly bisexual, though he did not disclose his HIV diagnosis for years. His partner said that the singer was initially diagnosed with AIDs in the spring of 1987. He died less than 24 hours after confirming his illness with a rare public statement
Magic Johnson, basketball player (born in 1959, diagnosed in 1991)
The basketball star discovered that he had the disease when he took a physical for the upcoming season. During a press conference on the issue, he said that his wife and unborn child did not have HIV, and though he did not know specifically how he contracted the disease, he said that it was likely because he had many sexual partners. He has denied that he was ever gay or bisexual, and has worked spreading awareness of the disease since he retired following his diagnosis.
Arthur Ashe, tennis star (died February 6, 1993)
Ashe became a legend in his sport when he was the first black man to ever win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Austaralian Open. In the 1980s, after retiring from tennis, he underwent a heart bypass surgery that required a blood transfusion. The transfusion was tainted and he contracted HIV. He opened up about the illness in 1992 and died from AIDs-related pneumonia a year later.
Easy-E, rapper (died March 26, 1995)
The rapper and founding member of N.W.A, whose given name was Eric Wright, went into hospital with what he thought was asthma in Febrary 1995. Doctors confirmed that he had AIDs, and he died just one week after he publicly announced his condition.
Instead of accepting the death
sentence, Ron studied the disease and its effects on the body, and
created a business sourcing and smuggling non-FDA approved medication,
experimental and alternative drugs for AIDS patients.
His determination and tenacity enabled him to live for six more years – during which time he pushed legislation through the courts, promoted awareness of the disease and helped countless other AIDS patients in the process.
'I remember he was the best-looking man I’d ever seen, even when I was little,' his daughter Yvette Carroll has said.
But that appeal all changed when he got sick, as Ms Carroll said: 'It was awful to see him like that. I couldn’t handle it, even at 21 years old.'
the years, several A-List stars have had their names attached to play
the role of Ron Woodroof in the film – including Brad Pitt and Ryan
Sharon said: 'They wanted Brad Pitt to play him and I thought "No, that isn’t going to work because I didn’t think Brad Pitt had the personality".
'They talked about Ryan Gosling and I thought the same thing.
'I like Ryan Gosling but I didn’t think his personality was the right personality.
'Then a year ago they mentioned Matthew McConaughey and I thought, "Ok … yes!"
'He’s got that same swagger that Ron had. I’m excited because Matthew is from Texas. I really think he has that personality where he can do what needs to be done.'
Sharon says the way McConaughey has gone about losing weight to transform into Ron is another characteristic they shared – determination.
The actor has dropped more than 40 pounds for the role leading to criticism that he was risking his health by extreme dieting, though he insisted he was going it the safe and healthy way.
'I feel fine. I really do. I got the means to lose the weight in a really healthy way. I'm eating fresh fish. I'm just eating small amounts. I'm not being starved... I'm taking care of myself,' he told The Daily Beast.
Of his shocking weight loss Sharon said: 'I hate that he’s having to do this, I really do.
I wish there was another way for him to do it, but that is just another
trait – determination - Matthew does to portray someone dying of AIDS.
'It isn't pretty in real life and it won't be pretty on the big screen. I think he will get an Oscar for this role.'
Oscar-worthy: Sharon says the way McConaughey has gone about losing weight to transform into Ron is another characteristic they shared – determination
Buffer days: Ron is shown shirtless in his healthier years and Matthew was, before this role, famous for taking his shirt off during his frequent outdoor workouts and days spent on the beach
Sharon says that things weren’t always easy between her and Ron when he was alive. He was a drug user and had many girlfriends – leaving his family unclear exactly how he contracted HIV.
'I will say this, I love Ronnie and
always have – and I miss him with all my heart – but I know where he is
and I know where my cars are now!
'But he was one wonderful and unique individual; I didn’t realize how unique he was until he got sick. But he was my brother and down underneath we both loved each other a lot.'
A TRANSFORMATIVE MOVIE: McCONAUGHEY ISN'T THE ONLY ACTOR CHANGING FOR HIS ROLE IN 'THE DALLAS BUYERS CLUB'
McConaughey's shocking weight loss is not the only one that has come from the film, as Jared Leto has also been required to dramatically change his appearance for his role.
The actor, who also fronts a band called Thirty Seconds to Mars, has the part of Rayon, a transsexual woman who bands together with Woodroof.
Rayon and Woodroof both have AIDs and work together with the help of Dr. Eve Saks, who is being played by Jennifer Garner, to smuggle alternative drugs into America to help themselves and others beat the disease while avoiding the oversight of the Food and Drug Administration.
Changing genders: Jared Leto plays a transsexual woman named Rayon in the film
Shocking: Leto got rid of his body hair- and even his eyebrows- in helps of the transformation
Leto revealed that, because he signed on to the project rather late in the process, his body tranformation has had to be significantly quicker than McConaughey's.
He has said that he has been essentially starving himself for a month in order to get such a gaunt appearance.
'Sometimes it's hard to hold on to water. But for me, it's not about the most weight I can lose, it's more to represent the character,' Leto has said.
This is not Leto's first time changing his body in the name of art, as he famously dropped a noticeable amount of weight for his part in Requiem for a Dream, and then piling it back on for Chapter 27 where he played John Lennon's shooter.
Scary thin: Matthew McConaughey says that he has been working with a team to help him be healthy
By contrast, McConnaughey, who is known for being an avid fan of exercise, has been taking a very measured approach to his weight loss, and has spent the past six months working with nutritionists and experts to make sure that he is being very healthy while losing the necessary 40 pounds.
The film is being directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, who also directed The Young Victoria, and shooting is currently underway in New Orleans.
On set, Jennifer Garner does not look like she has had to make any sizable body transformations, though her wardrobe has gone through a bit of a make-under as she has been sporting shapeless, dowdy dresses and lab coats for her role as the doctor.
Costume changes: Jennifer Garner, who plays Dr. Eve Saks, seems to have just changed her clothes