Revealing Mistakes After getting the drugs in Japan, Ron is packing a briefcase and you can see modern hundred dollar bills next to his passport.
Miscellaneous In an early scene set in 1985, the main character is told that he has tested positive for HIV. There was no reliable blood test available until late 1986, and the term HIV was not used by the medical community at that time. People were diagnosed as having AIDS based on their white cell count and other symptoms.
Miscellaneous When Ron and Dr. Saks are sharing a Shiner Bock beer on the house stairs, the closeup of the bottle reveals a label of the modern variety - not realistically depicting the packaging of the film's period.
Miscellaneous An early scene in the film, set in 1980, has a Bud Light advertising banner in the background. Bud Light was first sold in 1982.
Miscellaneous The stack of hundreds in the Japanese hotel were newer hundreds with the enlarged portrait.
Miscellaneous During one scene in Eve's home, there is a bottle of Cupcake wine which has only been in existence since 2008.
Miscellaneous When Ron returns from Mexico the first time, presumably around 1987, the border agent asks for his passport, which Ron hands him. Passports were not a requirement to cross the Mexico-U.S. border until 2008.
Miscellaneous The television in Dr. Saks home is an early-2000s model.
Miscellaneous In the scene in the supermarket they show a soup section with Campbell Soup display racks. These racks were not invented until 2003 yet the movie scene was supposed to be from 1986.
Miscellaneous Ron Woodroof wears "Ray Ban P" sunglasses, first sold in the late-2000s.
Character Error In several scenes you can see Leto's tattoos, particularly the faint outline of the one on his right collar bone area. It another scene, you see his forearm very briefly, and one of his red band tattoos is not covered at all.
Continuity When Ron puts the sombrero on Dr. Saks's head while he's trying to talk her into writing out prescriptions for the drugs, the door opens and closes behind him.
Continuity In Ron's office in the motel there is a giant poster of a Lamborghini Aventador behind his desk chair. This car was released in 2012 and bears no resemblance to any vehicle produced in the 1980s.
For McConaughey’s healthier scenes, Mathews, the makeup artist, used dental plumpers to fill out the actor’s face, but otherwise used more time-tested techniques to emphasize illness, using photos of skulls and skeletons as reference to highlight and contour every bone or tendon.
To create seborrheic dermatitis for some of the AIDS-suffering characters in the film, Mathews couldn’t afford to buy and didn’t have the time to make prosthetics, so instead, the makeup artist turned to a solution of grits and cornmeal, because it was affordable.
This film was shot in 28 days.
Robin Mathews, the makeup artist, shared that this is the most under-budgeted movie she's ever been a part of shooting.
Jared Leto had lost 30 pounds for his role.
This film marked Jared Leto's return to acting after 4 years.
The movie went through various stages before finally being financed with Matthew McConaughey's assistance. The first director-actor duo who tried to get the movie made were Brad Pitt and Marc Forster and also Ryan Gosling and Craig Gillespie.
Matthew McConaughey lost 38 pounds in assuming his role as an AIDS patient. Newspapers reported his new looks as 'terribly gaunt' and 'wasting away to skin and bones'.
Hilary Swank was cast but she dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
During the mid-1990s, Dennis Hopper was attached as director with Woody Harrelson as Woodroof, but financial backing was impossible to secure.
Jared Leto stayed in character as Rayon throughout filming. At one point, he went grocery shopping in character at a local Whole Foods where he received numerous stares and double takes.
Such were the budgetary constraints on this 25-day shoot, no customary lighting setups were used for the only camera that was hand-held for takes lasting up to 15 minutes. Rehearsals were excluded and, to the relief of the actors, no post-production looping requested.
At one point, Gael García Bernal circled the role but never reached the deal-making stage.
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