15 May 2014 8:21 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Matthew McConaughey and director Gus van Sant stopped by the Croisette on Thursday afternoon to pitch international buyers on their new drama “Sea of Trees,” which is scheduled to begin production on July 15.

The story follows a suicidal American (McConaughey) who befriends a man (Ken Watanabe) lost in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. The picture will have a budget of about $25 million, and negotiations are underway with Naomi Watts to play the female lead–the character of McConaughey’s wife. The project originated from Gil Netter (“Life of Pi”), who is producing with Ken Kao.

McConaughey said he was drawn to the poetic nature of the screenplay by Chris Sparling (“Buried”). “It was the best script I remember reading in the last five years,” said the actor who recently won the Oscar for “Dallas Buyers Club,” noting that it “felt like a bunch of beautiful haikus, back to back. It was incredibly surprising. »


- Ramin Setoodeh

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