Matthew McConaughey to star in Gus Van Sant film about 'suicide forest' Sea of Trees

The Oscar-nominated actor is set to co-star alongside Ken Watanabe

Matthew McConaughey is reportedly set to take the lead role in Gus Van Sant's next movie Sea of Trees, about the Aokigahara forest in Japan which has become a hotspot for suicides.

Chris Sparling will pen the film's script, which according to Variety sees McConaughey play a suicidal man who meets a character played by Ken Watanabe in the forest.

Known as the Sea of Trees, Aokigahara is a 35-square-kilometre forest near Mount Fuji that has become a popular place for people to take their lives, with up to 100 people committing suicide there each year with signs having to be put up in an attempt to dissuade people.

McConaughey has come into his own in the past few years, with critically-acclaimed roles in Mud, Killer Joe, The Wolf of Wall Street and most recently Dallas Buyers Club, which earned him several awards for his role of AIDS sufferer Ron Woodroof.

He recently gave an impassioned speech about the joy of being an actor at the SAG Awards and is nominated for best actor at this year's Oscars.

Van Sant, whose last two films were Restless and Promised Land, recently made a cameo appearance in Bret Easton Ellis-penned movie The Canyons.

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Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club (Picture: AP)