The new AIDS drama "Dallas Buyers Club" may have taken 20 years to come to fruition, but once it was time to shoot, director Jean-Marc Vallee and star Matthew McConaughey didn't dilly-dally, taking a stripped-down approach and completing the film in 25 days.
At a recent installment of the Envelope Screening Series, Vallee and McConaughey talked about how they pulled it off.
McConaughey recounted a phone call from Vallee a week before shooting was to begin: The director said they didn't have the budget to cover the 40-day shoot they had planned for. But, McConaughey said, Vallee told him, "I'll be there if you'll be there."
Vallee had shot some scenes of his previous film, "Cafe de Flore," with a single camera and no added lights, and he decided to use the same approach for the whole of "Dallas Buyers Club."
"Suddenly, this project was just demanding that because we didn't have a lot of money and that was the only way to do it," Vallee said. "No electric crew, no grip crew, handheld [camera work], available light — that gives [the actors] 360 degrees to move through, and we could also do the same and we're not waiting for lighting another angle or whatever. It was the way to do it."
Said McConaughey: "There's just no reset time, which was the freedom. What was great about it while shooting was, you show up to work in the morning and you're in and you're on until the end of the day when they say, 'Wrap. It's time to go home.' There's no going back to a trailer, there's no 'Let's go have a walk.' There's no showing up on set and [saying,] 'Let's talk about what the scene is about.' There's 'Show up on set and show me. On camera. Record. Now.'"
For more from the cast and crew of "Dallas Buyers Club," watch the clip above and check back for daily updates.
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