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cannes 2012

When Nicole Kidman Gave Zac Efron a Golden Shower at Cannes

We've seen a lot of unusual things at this year's Cannes Film Festival, like Marion Cotillard choreographing a triumphant, orca-summoning dance sequence to Katy Perry in Rust and Bone, or an anguished man in Los Tenebras Lux popping his own head off of his neck as though it were simply a grape from the vine, or Guy Pearce delivering a super-wackadoo performance in Lawless, or even Kristen Stewart shedding her Twilight inhibitions (and her clothes) in On the Road. Still, we can confidently predict that when it comes to wild, must-discuss moments from this year's fest, nothing will ever top the scene from the new Lee Daniels–directed film The Paperboy where Nicole Kidman looms over a supine Zac Efron, cries out, "If anyone's gonna pee on him, it's gonna be me," and then squirts an impressive stream of urine onto the High School Musical star's face and bare chest.

It's safe to say, then, that Daniels has followed up his Oscar-nominated Precious with a hot blast of crazy.

Adapted from the sixties-set Pete Dexter novel by Dexter and Lee Daniels, The Paperboy stars Efron and Matthew McConaughey as two brothers investigating the case of a death row inmate (played by John Cusack) with the help of Kidman, a sexual obsessive who writes letters to Cusack in prison and is determined to marry him. As McConaughey and his journalist colleague David Oyelowo probe into whether the menacing Cusack really committed murder, Efron nurses a full-blown crush on Kidman — and the director nurses his own crush on the handsome, frequently unclothed Efron, even stripping him down to wet tighty-whities in one scene so he can dance in the rain.

Clearly, the press corps at Cannes was not used to such intense levels of Efronsploitation, since at the press conference afterward, Efron was asked how he felt about being so "determinedly eroticized." Efron mostly ducked the question, though Daniels wasn't one to mince words. "Eroticized? Eroticized?" he shouted. "He's good-looking! The camera can't help but love him. And I'm gay!"

Daniels directs the whole movie at a high-camp level of trashy-sexy allure, and in that respect, it's closer to his directorial debut Shadowboxer (a movie that romantically paired Joseph Gordon-Levitt with Mo'Nique and prominently featured Stephen Dorff's half-tumescent, condom-clad member) than it is to his Best Picture bridesmaid Precious. In Kidman, Daniels has got a star who's willing to give the role her all, and she dons a straw-blond wig, an unsettling Tan Mom glow, and a series of wild, skin-tight outfits as the woman so sexually fixated on this Death Row prisoner that the first time she gets in a room with Cusack — a room, we should add, that is already populated by Efron, McConaughey, and Oyelowo — it takes not even 90 seconds before she is spreading her legs, tearing her pantyhose, and arriving at a loud, hands-free orgasm.

It's a wild moment ... and yet even that can't hold a candle to the coming golden shower. Later in the movie, as Efron's romantic ardor for Kidman is at its peak, the two head to the beach, where he decides to cool down with a dip in the ocean. Naturally, he is attacked by CG jellyfish. (Only the sixteenth weirdest thing to happen in this movie.) Covered in sting marks, he barely manages to drag himself to shore, and when Kidman is alerted to the attack by some comely girls who surround Efron, she pushes them away, pops a squat, and out comes number-one. And yes, you get a close-up of the stream. This is a movie that often seems to be missing important transitional scenes or specific inserts, but you had better believe that when Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron, that camera is there.

At the press conference, Kidman admitted that she hasn't yet watched the movie, but she was sanguine about some of its more out-there moments. "It's my job to give over to something, not to censor it," she said. Her co-star Macy Gray (we forgot to tell you that this is a movie narrated by Macy Gray, though maybe you somehow intuited it) backed Kidman up, explaining that once you go into character for a Lee Daniels movie, you don't come back until the last "cut" is called for the day. "You become someone else," she said. "Even when you go to the bathroom, you pee like your character." And how.