The most infamous scene to come out of this year's Cannes Film Festival undoubtedly occurred in "The Paperboy," when Nicole Kidman's character urinates on Zac Efron. Hollywood was set afire by the moment, with even stars weighing in on the effect it could have on Kidman's career. (Michelle Rodriguez thought it was great, but won't earn Kidman an Oscar nomination, because she isn't black?)
"Paperboy" director Lee Daniels has also given his take on the scene, explaining just why Kidman's character had to relieve herself at Efron's expense.
As it turns out, that's not exactly the story. In Daniels' interview with GQ, the director explains that Efron was attacked by a jellyfish and needed the urine to abate his pain. Though other women offer to provide the ointment (the character is played by Zac Efron, after all), Kidman's character comes through with the clutch line: "If anyone's gonna pee on you, it's going to be me."
"First of all, it was really hard to shoot," Daniels explained. "It was the third day. The first scene we shot was the sex scene with John [Cusack and Kidman]. I like to get that right out of the way. The second day was the telepathic sex scene in the prison. And the third day of shooting was the piss scene."
What a production schedule! The director also revealed that he had hesitations about including the scene in the film, fearing it was simply too much for the big screen. Kidman wasn't having any of it. "Lee, you made me pee on Zac Efron," she said. "If you don't put that in the movie, you're out of your freakin' mind. I did it! I did it!"
Was Efron equally excited about the scene? "If you could have watched Zac's face," Daniels recounted, "He's supposed to be passed out and [while Kidman is urinating] he's just got this smile on his face. I'm like, 'Zac, pretend like you're dead!' And he's just got this crazy smile on his face. The whole thing's crazy."
Kidman said she wasn't really uncomfortable with the film's more personal scenes. "I think I had to step into a place to play the character where I didn't step out of it and look at myself, so it wasn't hard to shoot," she told reporters at Cannes. The actress also revealed that after Daniels told her she would have to do her own hair and makeup on the set, she dressed herself up and took provocative pictures, which she then texted to Daniels.
For his part, Daniels said the entire experience was "a party" and that people were taking the story "way too f---ing seriously."
"Paperboy" does not have a U.S. release date and also stars Matthew McConaughey and John Cusack. For more information on the film and the novel it's based on, head over to our earlier coverage. For more from Daniels, head over to GQ.
John Carlo Odchigue
Estelle La Mode