McConaughey ditches romance to play killer cop

Thu Sep 8, 2011 10:40am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Silvia Aloisi

VENICE (Reuters) - Hollywood heartthrob Matthew McConaughey ditches romantic comedy in modern-day Western "Killer Joe," a film in competition at the Venice festival in which he plays a twisted detective who doubles as a hitman.

In the film, McConaughey is Joe Cooper, a sultry Dallas sheriff who is hired by broke drug dealer Chris to kill his mother for her $50,000 life insurance policy.

With no money for an advance, Chris agrees to offer his younger sister Dottie as sexual collateral in exchange for Joe's services until he receives the insurance money. But the plan does not work out as Chris, played by Emile Hirsch, expected.

Full of dark humor and at times reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," Killer Joe brings veteran U.S. film-maker William Friedkin back to the director's chair after a five-year absence.

Friedkin, best known for "The Exorcist" (1973) and "The French Connection" (1971), for which he won an Oscar, teamed up with playwright Tracy Letts to adapt his piece about the dysfunctional family at the center of the story.

"I understand these characters. I think they are really fascinating, interesting, unusual, I think they are very representative of human nature," Friedkin, 76, told reporters after his film was warmly applauded at a press screening in Venice.

"To me this is a twisted love story, like Cinderella.

"Cinderella is always looking for prince charming and in this story she finds prince charming but he happens to be a hired killer ... All women are looking in some ways for a prince or a princess charming and often you get a hired killer, you know. This is true. I mean I've been married four times."   Continued...