Matthew McConaughey has signed on to star in The Dallas Buyers Club, with Jean-Marc Vallée attached to direct.

The true story, set in the 1980s about a trafficker in illegal AIDS drugs, has attracted a long list of A-list actors and directors, including Brad Pitt, director Marc Forster, Ryan Gosling and director Craig Gillespie.

Once at Universal, the film is now an indie:

"It's not exactly the movie that studios are throwing money at these days," Matthew McConaughey said.

"It's a great script and a great story," he said. "And I think it can be a great movie."

The movie tells about Ron Woodroof, a heterosexual Dallas electrician who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, during some of the darkest days of the disease. Doctors gave him just a few months to live, but he refused to accept their prognosis.

Instead, Ron Woodroof created a smuggling operation for alternative treatments, which were then illegal, and tried to get them into the hands of as many AIDS patients as possible. He wound up living six more years and saved or prolonged the lives of many others.

No production date has been set.