Jared Leto Returning to Acting with 'Dallas Buyers Club'

The 30 Seconds to Mars frontman joins Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner in the AIDS drama, playing a flamboyant cross-dresser

Actor and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto is stepping before the cameras for the first time in five years for The Dallas Buyer’s Club, joining Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner in the long-in-the-works AIDS drama.

Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee (The Young Victoria) is helming the project, which will begin shooting next week in New Orleans.

Inspired by real events, the story centers on Ron Woodruff (McConaughey), a Texas electrician diagnosed with AIDS and given six months to live, who began smuggling alternative drugs into the U.S. to help himself and other AIDS patients. He added years to his life but rushed headfirst into a collision course with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which was bent on keeping the drugs out of the country.

In a potentially standout role, Leto would play a flamboyant cross-dresser with HIV who helps Woodruff. At one point, Gael Garcia Bernal circled the role but never reached the dealmaking stage.

Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack adapted Woodruff’s story for the screen. Robbie Brenner is producing with Rachel Rothman-Winter and Nathan Ross.

Leto worked with David Fincher in Fight Club and Panic Room and with Darren Aronofsky in Requiem for a Dream before focusing his energies on his rock band 30 Second to Mars, which since the mid-2000s has become a major concert draw. Leto did find time to direct the 30 Seconds to Mars documentary Artifact (under the pseudonym Bartholomew Cubbins), and the pic won the People’s Choice documentary award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

With music taking so much of his attention, Leto is somewhat choosy as to what roles he takes on. Buyer’s Club will be his first acting gig since he starred in Mr. Nobody with Sarah Polley and Diane Kruger.