Gaunt Matthew McConaughey losing 30 pounds for movie role

Aug. 29, 2012 at 3:42 PM ET

Matthew McConaughey is usually a pretty fit guy, running triathlons, sweating up a storm playing the bongos. In short, he's not carrying a lot of extra weight. So when he drops 30 pounds, it really shows.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2009, left, and this year after losing weight for a new film role.

Celeb-watchers have been buzzing about McConaughey's new gaunt appearance. He's dropping the pounds for a role in the 2013 film "The Dallas Buyer's Club."

McConaughey will play Texan Ron Woodroof, who was diagnosed with AIDS in the 1980s and became famous for smuggling homeopathic HIV medications into the U.S. (The Dallas Observer reprints a fascinating story about Woodroof here.)

McConaughey told Larry King in late July that he's lost 15 pounds and needed to lose 15 more by mid-September. "I should not look healthy by the time I'm doing (the role)," he said.

"I just kinda dared myself. I haven’t been this light since I was in the ninth grade," the actor told King. "I’m kind of looking at it as sort of a cleanse, it's a bit of a spiritual cleanse, mental cleanse. I’m drinking a lot of tea, and things like that.

"The first 10 days are much harder than after the first 10 days," McConaughey told King. "Because it takes a while for your body to understand that it has to feed off of itself and that you’re not going to give it something else from the outside."

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