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Screen Talk: Paper trail

Long-gestating plans to turn the 1995 Pete Dexter novel The Paperboy into a big-screen thriller picked up speed during this year's Festival de Cannes.

The French festival ends up feeling a bit like a Hollywood outpost with so many execs bagging a trip to talk loudly on their iphones. But for projects it can mean the right people are in the same room at the same time. Lee Daniels is set to direct the film, which follows a Miami Times reporter as he returns to his Florida hometown to investigate the imprisonment of a death-row inmate. Matthew McConaughey, Tobey Maguire, Sofia Vergara and Zac Efron will star and it's now hoped it will shoot later this year.

A tipple of hope

Across Cannes there is always much talk about potential deals, projects and cast pitches. But every year from all the hot air one or two future film scripts emerge with genuine buzz and a likelihood of getting made. John Hillcoat's prohibition-era pic The Wettest County in the World, certainly garnered discussion among the US contingent on the Croisette after a promo reel was shown. The cast is led by Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy. And the story is a good one. Based on the book by Matt Bondurant, Wettest County tells the story of three brothers who run a massive bootlegging operation in southern Virginia, and extract revenge when their illegal business comes under threat. Gary Oldman and Mia Wasikowska also star in the movie, while Nick Cave penned the adapted script.

Ridley Scott set to direct Red Riding

The US version of the series of movies based on David Peace's Red Riding novels has secured the services of Jamie Vanderbilt, who wrote Zodiac. Backed by Columbia, the US movie version is co-produced by Ridley Scott's Scott Free company and the British film-maker is himself attached to direct the fresh version, which tracks the disappearance and grisly murders of several young girls, as well as police corruption in a British town from 1974 to 1983.

Great expectations

It's one of those parts a lot of people seem to want. Baz Luhrmann's planned 3D version of The Great Gatsby is casting for the Tom Buchanan character. Word from Hollywood is that Joel Edgerton and Luke Evans both read for the part, once eyed by Ben Affleck. Affleck pulled away after being unable to make the dates work with Argo, his next directorial duty. Buchanan is one of the key characters in F Scott Fitzgerald's story of love and discontentment among the rich in lavish 1920s Long Island. Leonardo DiCaprio is attached to play the wealthy and mysterious Jay Gatsby, while Tobey Maguire is playing Nick Carraway, who in the novel is the narrator. Carey Mulligan is playing Gatsby's love, Daisy Buchanan, who is married to Tom Buchanan, a wealthy man having an affair with a mistress (Isla Fisher) in the city.

Tough Chuck

The casting of Yvonne Strahovski in the Paramount backed road movie My Mother's Curse, starring Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand, caused a minor maelstrom of debate on the web. It seems on one hand Strahovski's fans of her TV show Chuck couldn't believe she decided to take off and make another film, while Chuck learned it would be made for one more season only. And on the other, more generous enthusiasts wished her good luck, some going as far as to suggest she'll help elevate the Anne Fletcher directed comedy and why shouldn't she continue to expand her acting résumé. Dan Fogelman's script follows an inventor (Rogen) who invites his mother (Streisand) on a cross-country trip as he tries to sell his new product, while also reuniting her with a lost love. Strahovski will play Rogen's high- school sweetheart whom he once proposed to. At least Strahovski will be back on Chuck for its just announced fifth and final season.