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The Efron of “The Paperboy,” Mr. Daniels says, is one unfamiliar to his fans.

“He’s a grown-up Zac and a tortured Zac,” says Mr. Daniels. “Someone we haven’t seen before — a different Zac.”

Mr. Efron, Miss Stewart, Mr. LaBeouf and Mr. Pattinson will get no better launching pad for their new roles than Cannes, where daring is prized above all other attributes.

“There’s no point in being scared of just trying,” says Mr. Pattinson. “The worst that can happen is just failure, right?”