Lee Daniels Brings New Movie 'The Paperboy' to Cannes Film Festival

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Matthew McConaughey Hopes to Go From Hot to Hollywood Hot With 'The Paperboy' at Cannes
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Matthew McConaughey in Nu Image's "The Paperboy" - 2012

Lee Daniels, the director who broke out in 2009 with the movie "Precious," debuts his next project, "The Paperboy," at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The movie stars Matthew McConaughey as a journalist who heads back home to Florida to investigate a murder case where the death row inmate (John Cusack) might be an innocent man.

"The Paperboy" is one of many American movies headed to Cannes, and it will be interesting to see how the film plays out. Daniels proved with "Precious" that he was unafraid to take his story in unexpected, disturbing directions. The director noted audiences will find some uncomfortable scenes in this movie as well.

"The Paperboy"

"The Paperboy" is an adaptation of the best-selling novel by Peter Dexter. Dexter himself adapted the material into a screenplay for Daniels to direct, the second self-penned book the author adapted into a movie personally after "Paris Trout." "Paperboy" was originally published in 1995, a movie passing in and out of studio hands until Daniels finally secured the rights to make it.

The thriller does not share the melodrama of "Precious," but Daniels proved he is daring enough to make it work.

From the look of the film, McConaughey is basically playing himself in the movie. He is an investigative journalist who heads home with his younger brother (Zac Efron) to try to find the evidence to free a convicted murderer (John Cusack). McConaughey's character is hired by a woman (Nicole Kidman) who claims to be in love with the convicted man but soon begins an affair with the younger brother.

Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron Get Steamy

The love affair between Kidman and Efron seems to be one of the selling points for Daniels about his movie. After making a film where a mother throws a large television down a flight of stairs in an effort to murder her daughter and infant granddaughter, anything is possible.

From the sounds of it, this might end up a closer resemblance to "Monster's Ball," which Daniels produced, than "Precious." Fans of Efron's Disney roles in the "High School Musical" movies might be in for a shock to see their idol all grown up and involved in what Daniels claims are erotic scenes with Nicole Kidman.

"We get down," the director told USA Today. "It's a Zac we have not seen. And Nicole jumped in all the way."

John Cusack Plays Against Type

Not only will Kidman and Efron shock audiences, but this is a John Cusack most audiences are not used to seeing. Whether he is trying to survive the end of the world or latch onto the girl of his dreams, Cusack has always been a charming, funny actor. Even when his life is in danger, he has that down-home charm making him easy to cheer for.

With his Southern twang and suggestive looks, this character is about the furthest from charming he can get. In a released clip from the movie, the actor seems to be more Billy Bob Thornton than John Cusack. He is slimy, sarcastic, and antagonistic in a way we've never seen. "The Paperboy" might be a movie that opens up new doors for Cusack.

"The Paperboy" screens on both May 24 and 25 at the Cannes Film Festival. A U.S. release date has not been set.

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