WATCH: Zac Efron Sizzles in The Paperboy for Lee Daniels

By Jeremy Kinser

Originally published on August 01 2012 4:41 PM ET

Zac Efron makes his squeaky clean High School Musical days a dim memory with his brave performance for director Lee Daniels in The Paperboy, which also features memorable work from Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey.

Daniels follows up 2009's Oscar-nominated Precious with this gritty, torrid Southern melodrama that caused a sensation when it premiered in Cannes last May. Efron stars as Jack, a young man who returns home after being kicked out of college and soon becomes entangled with Charlotte (Kidman, in a fearless performance), an alluring death-row groupie, while aiding his journalist brother Ward (McConaughey) on the trail of a story that could make his career. 

The Paperboy opens October 5. Watch the trailer below.