Actress Macy Gray attend the "The Paperboy" photocall during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 24, 2012 in Cannes, France.

*Macy Gray makes her first big screen appearance since 2010’s “For Colored Girls” in the forthcoming Lee Daniels’ film “The Paperboy.” The movie follows reporter Ward James (Matthew McConaughey) and his younger brother Jack James (Zac Efron) as they travel to the deep south to investigate events that may have sent the wrong man to death row.


The film, opening nationwide this fall, is based on Pete Dexter’s 1995 novel “The Paperboy,” but as previously reported, Daniels took a few liberties with the adaptation. He cast a black man in the role of a character written as a white man in the book, and he stretched out the role of Anita — the James family’s maid played by Gray.

Unlike the book, Anita serves as the narrator, opening the film by recounting the James brothers’ story to an interviewer. She tells how Ward James is digging into the case of death row inmate Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), and the shenanigans of his trashy fiancé Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman).

The premiere of 'The Paperboy' during the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival. (L-R) John Cusack, Matthew McConaughey, Lee Daniels, Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, David Oyelowo and Macy Gray (May 24, 2012)

Because Ward James’s assistant Yardley has been written as a dapper black Englishman played by David Oyelowo, Yardley’s skin color predictably agitates the backwater locals.

“It’s so many things in the movie that are under the surface,” Gray said during “Paperboy’s” press conference at the recent Cannes Film Festival. “It’s one of those movies where you’ll watch it the fifth time and you’ll see something that you didn’t see before.”

Macy Gray at the premiere of "The Paperboy" at the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival held at the Palais des Festivals on the famous Croisette Avenue in Cannes. (May 24, 2012)

Below, Gray praises her director for adding the element of race to his adaptation of “The Paperboy,” and for addressing the lack of substantive roles for African Americans by simply creating more.

“The Paperboy” opens in the U.S. on November 23, 2012. Watch a clip from the film below.