In his first major film role since appearing as John Lennon's assassin Mark David Chapman in 2007's Chapter 27, the 30 Seconds to Mars frontman plays a cross-dresser battling AIDS. For Thursday's shoot, Leto, 40, got into character by donning a fur coat, black miniskirt and purple tights. He was also in full hair and makeup.
Expected in theaters next year, The Dallas Buyers Club is loosely based on the true-life story of Ron Woodruff, a Texas electrician given six months to live after being diagnosed with AIDS. Woodruff (played by Matthew McConaughey) then smuggles alternative drugs into the U.S. to aid himself and other AIDS patients, including Leto's character, Rayon.
Like Leto, McConaughey is also going all in to perfect his character, shedding his usually muscular body and adopting a skeletal appearance in recent months.
"I'm playing a guy who was sick and would have loved to have been healthier but wasn't. For me, it's more of a mental thing than a physical thing," McConaughey, 43, tells Us Weekly. "I'll get down to the weight I need to get to. I'm on my way, and it's what I need to do for the job."