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Bill Minutaglio leafed through the pages of the Village Voice newspaper.

A New Yorker living and working in Dallas, Texas, Minutaglio loved to catch up with the minutiae of his old home town, and as a staffer on the Dallas Morning News’s Sunday magazine, he was always on the lookout for stories that might resonate with his readers.

“It was recognised as being one of the edgiest and more daring,” he says.

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That morning there was one: the Voice contained a piece about so-called “buyers clubs”.

It was 1992, and the world had been grappling with the Aids epidemic for a little more than a decade.

The 44-year-old has already won a Golden Globe for his performance in the film, and if certain bookies are to be believed he’ll be on to an Oscar soon.

It’s difficult to know exactly how Mc Conaughey lost the weight (around 38lbs), as accounts of his diet in the months leading up to filming differ even from the actor himself.

Although progress had been made in the treatment, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates pharmaceutical drugs in the United States, was accused by some Aids sufferers of being too slow to sanction the use of medicine they believed could extend their lives – drugs that had been approved in other countries.

Buyers clubs were forming around the country in which members’ monthly fees were pooled to import prescription drugs, often illegally.These drugs were then distributed so members could self-medicate.Buried in that Village Voice story was what Minutaglio today calls a “throwaway line” about a specific buyers club in Dallas.Nothing says "serious actor" quite like starving yourself for a role.Tom Hanks did it for Castaway, Christian Bale did it for the Machinist and now Matthew Mc Conaughey has done it for Dallas Buyers Club, the story of AIDS sufferer Ron Woodfroof which is released in the UK on Friday.“Nothing can kill Ron Woodroof in 30 days,” he says before he’s seen smoking, drinking, having sex with women in his trailer home, and snorting cocaine with a rolled-up dollar bill. What follows is a larger-than-life story of a man on a mission to not only treat his own illness but also to supply the same drugs to thousands of other people in Dallas.

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