The director: Lee Daniels (American, 52 years old)
The talent: Thought Robert Pattinson was the unlikeliest name you'd see leading a Competition title at Cannes? Try Zac Efron out for size. The "High School Musical" teen idol takes on his first fully adult dramatic lead in this thriller, with several more experienced star names to back him up: Matthew McConaughey (in the first of his two Competition film appearances this year), Nick Nolte, John Cusack, Scott Glenn and, generating the most pre-premiere chatter about her performance, Nicole Kidman.
Meanwhile, sandpaper-voiced soul singer Macy Gray narrates. If you enjoyed her performance in Daniels' debut feature "Shadowboxer" and often find yourself wondering how she'd have fared in Mo'Nique's role in "Precious" -- in other words, if you're me -- this is very good news indeed.