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Jared Leto
© Joel Ryan/AP -- Jared Leto
Jared Leto returning to acting with 'Dallas Buyer's Club'

Borys Kit
The Hollywood Reporter

Actor and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto is stepping before the cameras for the first time in three years for "The Dallas Buyer's Club," joining Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner in the long-in-the-works AIDS drama.

Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee ("The Young Victoria") is helming the project, which will begin shooting next week in New Orleans.

Bing: Jared Leto and 30 Seconds to Mars

Inspired by real events, the story centers on Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), a Texas electrician diagnosed with AIDS and given six months to live, who began smuggling alternative drugs into the U.S. to help himself and other AIDS patients. He added years to his life but rushed headfirst into a collision course with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which was bent on keeping the drugs out of the country.

In a potentially standout role, Leto would play a flamboyant cross-dresser with HIV who helps Woodroof. At one point, Gael Garcia Bernal circled the role but never reached the deal-making stage.

Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack adapted Woodroof's story for the screen. Robbie Brenner is producing with Rachel Rothman-Winter and Nathan Ross.

Leto worked with David Fincher in "Fight Club" and "Panic Room" and with Darren Aronofsky in "Requiem for a Dream" before focusing his energies on his rock band 30 Second to Mars, which since the mid-2000s has become a major concert draw. Leto did find time to direct the 30 Seconds to Mars documentary "Artifact" (under the pseudonym Bartholomew Cubbins), and it won the People's Choice documentary award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. With music taking so much of his attention, Leto is somewhat choosy as to what roles he takes on. "Buyer's Club" will be his first acting gig since he starred in 2009's "Mr. Nobody" with Sarah Polley and Diane Kruger. He is repped by CAA and Untitled.

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