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Matthew McConaughey Drops Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler’; Working on ‘Dallas Buyer’s Club’

Written by on June 7, 2012 

Amidst the ensuing carnage wrought by Lee Daniels‘ urine-splashed, Southern-fried courtroom drama The Paperboy, a casualty has been found. The Oscar-nominated director has been hard at work on his fourth film, The Butler, having assembled a cast far better than the reputation of his latest work would suggest: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, David Oyelowo, Alan Rickman, John Cusack, Nicole Kidman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Minka Kelly, and Lenny Kravitz.

Matthew McConaughey was on that list (he would be playing John F. Kennedy), but, in an interview with 24Frames, he laid out the current situation pretty clearly: “[I]t’s not going to happen for me.” Although some more concrete notes on the departure weren’t supplied — he only said it’s for “certain true reasons,” whatever that even means — it’s cleared room to develop a film much closer to his heart.

That’s The Dallas Buyer’s Club, a true-life account of Texas native Ron Woodroof; his contraction of HIV in the ’80s led the man to a career of “importing experimental foreign remedies in the early days of the AIDS epidemic.” The arc at play is rather unconventional: From, in McConaughey‘s own words, “a homophobe redneck cowboy” to an FDA enemy in cahoots “with a transsexual assistant.”

In addition to making some proper physical preparations for the role, he’s been working on a script with Canadian director (and possibly helmer) Jean-Marc Vallee. And it might be the right time to do so. While the subject matter and period setting have, up to this point, been stopgaps in Dallas‘ development — Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Marc Forster, and Craig Gillespie were all circling beforehand — the actor says that a few current projects (Magic Mike, possibly) are creating forward movement on the film. If his heart’s in the right place and he can continue this mini-resurrection all at once? A lot of people go home happy.

Is it a smart move to drop The Butler? What do you hope to see McConaughey do with Dallas Buyer’s Club?

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