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WOMEN WHO LOVE CONVICTS

- May 24th, 2012

CANNES — For her role in the new thriller The Paperboy, Lee Daniels talked a reluctant Nicole Kidman into sitting down with five women who claim they love men in prison, in some cases without ever meeting the man. Kidman said Thursday that this experience scared her and then proved useful.

“They told me stories that … wow! … and then I got scared,” Kidman told a Cannes Film Festival press conference. Part of that fear was professional. “I said to Lee: ‘I’m not going to be able to be real in this!’ ”

Kidman, an Australian beauty who dumbs down and trashes up for the film, plays a Florida women in love with a convicted killer on death row.  John Cusack plays the convict as a swamp-rat scumbag but Kidman’s character persists in loving him. The Paperboy, which is in competition at Cannes, is based on the Peter Dexter novel.

Kidman said she processed the insight she got from the five real women “and then it all just kind of happened and then I never had a hesitation about anything. I just went for it. That’s how it came together.”

In a startling revelation, Daniels said one of the women among the five was his sister, who “has written many men in prison” and plays Kidman’s best friend on-screen. Meanwhile, Daniels said he adopted and raised his own brother’s children, Clara and Liam, after that sibling was jailed for “many years” for murder. Just as haunting, Daniels’ father was an abusive man who ridiculed his son for being homosexual and then died in the line of service as a Philadelphia police officer. The film starts with the anatomy of a murder of an abusive, racist cop.

“Everybody, every character here, I know,” Daniels said of the world that Dexter conjured as fiction.

 

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