Even with Nicole Kidman, Zach Efron, Matthew Mcconaughey, and John Cusack in the cast, and Oscar-nominated Lee Daniels ( Precious ) directing, the producers of The Paperboy had difficulty rounding up backers for the movie, the actors said at a news conference at the Cannes Film Festival, where the film was screened in competition for the coveted Palm d'Or award today (Thursday). Kidman said that for independent filmmakers, "it's very hard to find financing. You do, eventually, if you're lucky, and you get it made, and that's where I find a lot of interesting roles, but it's very hard to get these films made. It requires a lot of tenacity on the part of the filmmaker and it's an uphill battle all the way." Each of the actors described why they were drawn to such films. Efron said that he regarded The Paperboy as "the best opportunity in the world for me." After bubble-gum and Pop Idol roles, The Paperboy , he said, gave him a chance "to go beyond Frontiers. It was a dream and I hope to be able to continue to act in films like this." Such roles, he added, "is what I'm hungry for. ... This is a New Frontier for me, and it's incredibly fulfilling." McConaughey, too, said that the film allowed him to expand beyond the sameness of his past roles. (He plays a bisexual, hard-drinking, private investigator whom he calls "a real badass.") And Cusack remarked that the film gave him and his fellow cast members the opportunity to "transcend ourselves and have some sort of experience that's kind of artistic and deeply personal, so this was sort of like the dream gig."