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Matthew McConaughey Drops Pounds, 'Liz & Dick' Premieres, 'Arrow' Renewed

By Nathaniel Grey
Film/TV Correspondent
In this technological age in which CGI can create the most amazing images on-screen, it's almost shocking that actors will go to extreme lengths for a film role. Christian Bale lost 62 pounds for the film The Machinist. Colin Farrell shed 44 pounds for the hardly seen film The Triage. Matt Damon dropped 50 pounds to play a heroin addict in the movie Courage Under Fire, and 50 Cent went down 42 pounds to play a football player with cancer in Things Fall Apart.

The latest member of this weight-loss club for men is Magic Mike star Matthew McConaughey, who has reduced his normal weight by 38 pounds. His new disturbing appearance is for the role of a homophobic redneck with AIDS in the film The Dallas Buyers Club. In the works since the 1990s, the true story centers on a Texas electrician (McConaughey) with AIDS who smuggles alternative drugs into America. The project costars Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto, who plays a flamboyant cross-dresser with AIDS.  Ironic that normally thin Leto is an exception to this weight-loss theme. The lead singer of 60 Seconds to Mars, Leto went the opposite direction and gained weight for his role as John Lennon killer Mark David Chapman in the film Chapter 27.

Don't lament that the Nov. 26 season finale of RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race will take away your camp fix for the rest of the year. Lifetime has an extra dose airing the night before. It's the no-so-eagerly-awaited bio film on Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Liz & Dick, starring Lindsay Lohan as the violet-eyed star. The intended drama costars Ugly Betty vet Grant Bowler as Burton, and features Wild Things' Theresa Russell, The Nanny's Charles Shaugnessy and Sex and the City vet David Eigenberg. Set your expectations lower than those of Lohan's parole officer. The Hollywood Reporter calls it "Half train wreck, half Saturday Night Live skit. Both an awful mess and an instant classic of unintentional hilarity."

It looks like the holiday season officially kicks off on Nov. 26 as the TV Guide Channel will air The Cast of a Christmas Story: Where Are They Now. Even though the wonderful Darren McGavin is no longer with us, tune in and find out if any of the stars have since received a "major award."

It looks like TV casting agents are focusing on grandma MILFs. Sixty-seven-year-old Carnivale vet Adrienne Barbeau pops in to the Nov. 25 episode of ABC's Revenge, playing Madeline Stowe's mother. On Nov. 28, 79-year-old Dynasty alum Joan Collins begins a three-episode guest stint on the Fran Drescher series Happily Divorced on TV Land.

Not sitting on his laurels since his hit CW series Arrow has been renewed for a full season, hunky star Stephen Amell is currently pairing with Taken 2 star Maggie Grace for the Hallmark Channel's movie version of Janette Oke's novel When Calls the Heart. The telefilm was written and directed by Michael Landon Jr., who is also doing a TV version of Beverly Lewis' New York Times bestseller The Confession, starring Highlander vet Adrian Paul. A successful small-screen film producer, Michael is not only the son of Highway to Heaven star Michael Landon but the brother of screenwriter Christopher Landon, who wrote the script for Paranormal Activity 2 - 4. Christopher is currently working on a spin-off from that film series.  

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