By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist December 29, 2011 at 9:00AM
Well, it took him a little while to settle on something, and after flirting with a seemingly endless list of projects, "Precious" director Lee Daniels returns with a bit of a shift in direction with the period thriller "The Paperboy." And if this poster is anything to go by, this could be a very unexpected treat.
Boasting an all-star cast – Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, John Cusack and Nicole Kidman – the film is based on the book by Pete Dexter and follows Ward James (McConaughey), a respected journalist, and his brother Jack (Efron), a college dropout, investigating the possible wrongful conviction of a death row inmate (Cusack) who was found guilty of killing the town’s sheriff in Florida. As all this unfolds, Jack winds up falling for the convict's love interest (Kidman).
Through its development a number of names came and went – Bradley Cooper, Alex Pettyfer, Sofia Vergara, Tobey Maguire – but it likely speaks to the strength of the material that the cast has firmed up as well as it has. But there are a couple of things here to keep optimism in check. Lee Daniels hasn't exactly been known to have the subtlest hand at directing – "Precious" practically throws a cast iron skillet at your head to get its emotions across – so we hope he lets things breathe a bit here. And Zac Efron in the lead and romancing Nicole Kidman? Dude is gonna have to be really on top of his game to convince us. But that said, this great, paperback book/retro-style poster promises a sizzling genre piece, so fingers crossed.
No release date yet, but "The Paperboy" is expected to land in 2012.