1. In Dallas Buyers Club, Jennifer Garner plays Dr. Eve Saks, who treats AIDS patients Ron (Matthew McConnaughey) and Rayon (Jared Leto). We spoke recently about the movie and her role in it.
2. She watched director Jean-Marc Vallée's previous movies. "I watched Café de Flore and C.R.A.Z.Y., and thought, Ucch, god is he good. So smart."
3. Then Vallée and Garner talked.
4. "Look at shots of me every single day, I look half-crazy.'"
5. To achieve the look Vallée wanted, Garner went unadorned. "So I never sat in the makeup chair. And my clothes were from Goodwill. And I liked it that way."
6. The low-budget Dallas Buyers Club had a short shoot. But Garner found she had trouble being away from her kids. "My first, I went right back to work because I was doing Alias..."
7. Garner was born in 1972, so she was 13 when the movie's events begin.
8. To research what a doctor's perspective would have been in the mid-'80s on HIV, AIDS, and drug treatments, Garner bought old medical journals from eBay.
9. Since Ron Woodroof was a real person and Dallas Buyers Club is based on his life, Garner assumed Eve was also real. She was not!
10. So she decided for herself who Eve is, and why she transforms throughout the movie. "This girl had always been an overachiever, had always been a father pleaser. She had probably thought, Doctor sounds good, Dad will like that."
11. Eve is friends with Rayon from high school.
12. Both Leto and McConnaughey famously lost tons of weight to play Rayon and Ron.
13. "But it was alarming. In real life, it was much more alarming than what you see on screen. On screen, you have that remove. In real life you have this animal instinct of, This person's dying, I need to feed them."
14. The screenplay of Dallas Buyers Club kicked around for years and years (here's a great Los Angeles Times story about it), with different actors attached. But Garner feels it was meant to be McConnaughey as Ron.
"To me, that's why Matthew had to be Ron Woodroof, and why this movie had to wait be made. Someone with a life force as strong as his. He is himself 100% of the time: Matthew is Matthew. We've all loved watching him for so long, and there's a reason. There's a reason he's charismatic. He's not afraid of life at all."