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Matthew McConaughey: Why My Weight Loss Was Worth It

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A burger never tasted so good.

After nearly starving himself for the upcoming movie Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey spent 25 minutes “doozying up” his first hearty meal after shooting wrapped: a big, juicy cheeseburger.

“Extra mayo, extra jalapenos, extra dill pickles and extra ketchup!” he tells PEOPLE. “It was exactly as I wanted it.”

McConaughey also wanted to look as realistic as possible, losing a whopping 47 lbs. in three months to play Ron Woodroof, a heterosexual Texas electrician diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s who tracked down and smuggled non-FDA-approved drugs into the U.S. to try to save his life.

Woodroof ends up forming a club to sell the drugs to others with the AIDS virus – largely gay men, the very people he “deplores” at the start of the film, says McConaughey. Jared Leto lost about 30 lbs. to play his friend, a transsexual woman named Rayon, and Jennifer Garner plays Woodroof’s doctor.

Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner
“I really was intrigued by this wild, almost redneck Texan who was trying to be Scarface – drug-smuggling, dealing and rolling in the cash, trying to stay alive,” McConaughey says of Woodroof. “He was a bad ass.”

The film, which opens Dec. 6, “is serious subject matter, but it s almost got humor in the most anarchic way,” he says. “It’s a great story.”