- Cast: Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Scott Glenn, Nikolette Noel, David Oyelowo, Macy Gray, Ned Bellamy, Beau Brasseaux, Lorrie Chilcoat, Peter Murnik, Katarzyna Wolejnio, Camille Balsamo, Chip Carriere, Nealla Gordon, Jeanine Hill, Ava Bogle, John C. Klein, Adam Sibley, Leslie Hippensteel, John P. Fertitta, Danny Hanemann, Adrienne Esteen, Kristen Beevers, Rene' J.F. Piazza, Robyn Sprehe, Cody E. Olsen
- Director: Lee Daniels
- Writers: Lee Daniels, Peter Dexter
- Producers: Ed Cathell III, Lee Daniels, Cassian Elwes, Hilary Shor
- Co Producers: Asger Hussain, Simone Sheffield
- Executive Producer: Michael Benaroya
- Art Direction: Wright McFarland
- Castings: Leah Daniels, Billy Hopkins
- Costume Design: Caroline Eselin
- D.O.P.: Roberto Schaefer
- Editor: Joe Klotz
- Makeup: Robin Mathews
- Music: Mario Grigorov
- Production Design: Daniel T. Dorrance
- Set Decoration: Tim Cohn
From Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels ("Precious") comes a provocative, sexually-charged tale of desire, ambition, prejudice and crime set in the 1960s swamplands of South Florida. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, David Oyelowo, Macy Gray, John Cusack and Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman, "The Paperboy" dips into the gritty human underside of a murder investigation, as a compelling cast of characters confront obsession, deception and their own dark, dark demons on the muddy road towards retribution.
It all begins in the steamy rural backwater of Moat County, Florida, where things have been done the same way for decades, yet change is bubbling beneath the surface. Boyish Jack Jansen (Efron), son of the local newspaper publisher, has just returned home after being kicked out of college, only to take the lowly job of paperboy. But that too changes when his idolized journalist brother Ward (McConaughey) comes to town from Miami on the trail of a story that could make his career.
Bringing in tow his hotshot writing partner Yardley (Oyelowo) and the alluring death-row groupie Charlotte Bless (Kidman), Ward plans to prove that an innocent man has been railroaded on his way to the electric chair. With Jack as their driver, the quartet arranges to meet Hillary Van Wetter (Cusack), the seedy alligator hunter hastily convicted of killing the local sheriff, at the prison. But what erupts between them all is a tangled web of sexual tension, mixed motives and shadowy facts that will set off not only a search for the truth but a chain reaction of passion and violence. Observing it all is Jack’s only real confidante -- the disregarded family maid Anita (Gray) – who watches in dismay as his innocence is turned inside out.
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Filming Locations: Los Angeles, USA; New Orleans, USA
- MPAA Warning: Strong sexual content, violence and language
- Production Budget: $12.5 million
- Production Companies: Millennium Films, Nu Image Films, Lee Daniels Entertainment, Benaroya Pictures
- Production Schedule: 25 July 2011 - 17 September 2011
2012 Guide Analysis: "It has taken, on and off, around ten years for this adaptation of Pete Dexter's 1995 novel to get to the screen with both Pedro Almodovar and later Paul Verhoeven failing to get it off the ground. Ultimately it was "Precious" director Lee Daniels who finally managed to make it work though Almodovar remains onboard as producer.
Set around Moat County Florida in the 1960s, the story follows the slacker son of a newspaper editor and publisher who gets pulled into his older, big-city reporter brother’s investigation of a rural sheriff's murder. There's also the question of whether the death-row inmate convicted of it was truly responsible.
Various names including Bradley Cooper, Alex Pettyfer, Sofia Vergara and Tobey Maguire were either linked or offered roles in the film, though ultimately almost every time a name fell through Daniels managed to secure a better and stronger talent for the same role.
Each is quite distinct too, for example Kidman has the interesting role of a woman who writes letters to men on death row. Dexter adapted the script himself and the first poster was an impressive retro style affair. The question is will Daniels achieve the same level of success he had with "Precious"?"