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MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY portrays the young lawyer Roger Baldwin, the first attorney willing to take on the Africans' cause. McConaughey most recently starred opposite Jodie Foster in Robert Zemeckis' thought-provoking science fiction drama "Contact." Last year, he garnered praise from both critics and audiences for his performance in Joel Schumacher's emotionally charged courtroom drama "A Time To Kill," based on the John Grisham novel. He also appeared as Texas Sheriff Buddy Deeds in John Sayles' critically acclaimed drama "Lone Star," which premiered at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.

Hailing from Texas, McConaughey was majoring in film at the University of Texas when he was cast in Richard Linklater's ode to the '70s, "Dazed and Confused." He returned to college and completed his degree before landing the lead role in the cult classic sequel "Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Moving to Los Angeles, he was soon cast as Tucson police officer Abraham Lincoln in Herbert Ross' hit comedy/drama "Boys on the Side," starring Whoopi Goldberg, Drew Barrymore and Mary-Louise Parker.

McConaughey next re-teams with director Richard Linklater to star in "The Newton Boys."

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