This was a long-coveted project for actors and directors even before Matthew McConaughey came aboard in May 2011 to star alongside Hilary Swank (Jennifer Garner eventually came on to take the latter role). McConaughey said he lost almost 40 pounds to tell the real-life story of Ron Woodruff, who fought the U.S. medical and pharmaceutical companies after he was diagnosed with HIV in the mid-1980s, when the disease was still mostly without a public face. Focus plans a release for Dallas Buyers Club in the second half of this year — which usually means an awards-season slot. Here’s the release

NEW YORK, April 23rd, 2013 – Dallas Buyers Club, currently in post-production, has been acquired by Focus Features for domestic theatrical release in the second half of 2013. The company has also acquired Latin American rights to the feature. Focus CEO James Schamus and Focus president Andrew Karpen made the announcement today. A Truth Entertainment production, Dallas Buyers Club is produced by Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter. Spirit Award winner Matthew McConaughey stars in the fact-based drama for director Jean-Marc Vallée (The Young Victoria). The film’s original screenplay is by Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack.

In Dallas Buyers Club, Mr. McConaughey portrays real-life Texas electrician Ron Woodroof, an ordinary man who found himself in a life-or-death battle with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies. In 1986, Ron was blindsided by being diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. With the U.S. still internally divided over how to combat the virus and restricting medications, Ron grabbed hold of non-toxic alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Seeking to avoid government sanctions against selling non-approved medicines and supplements, he established a “buyers club,” which fellow HIV-positive people could join for access to his supplies.

The cast of Dallas Buyers Club also includes Gotham Independent Film Award winner Jared Leto and Golden Globe Award winner Jennifer Garner. The movie’s executive producers are Truth Entertainment’s Tony Notargiacomo and Joe Newcomb; Nicholas Chartier; Cassian Elwes; Logan Levy; Nathan Ross; and Holly Wiersma.

Mr. Schamus and Mr. Karpen commented, “Matthew McConaughey is an actor at the top of his game, and he incarnates Ron Woodroof by showing how his self-interest was galvanized into something much more. Audiences will want to take this journey with him, Jared Leto, and Jennifer Garner, as guided by their dynamic director Jean-Marc Vallée.”

Mr. Vallée said, “I’m extremely pleased that we are partnered with Focus Features. They have a long and successful history of sharing memorable stories. Ron Woodroof’s story is one of an imperfect man and his fight for survival, during a confused and desperate time. We all believe that this film had to finally be made, and we are all grateful and privileged to be part of this project.”

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