Photocall for "The Paperboy" at the Palais des Festivals during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival. (L-R): Macy Gray, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Lee Daniels, John Cusack and Zac Efron (May 24, 2012)

*“Precious” director Lee Daniels screened his next film “The Paperboy” at the Cannes Film Festival today and all hell has broken loose.

The big screen adaptation of author Pete Dexter’s book was met with mixed reviews, but many critics were down right appalled by a scene in the film that shows Nicole Kidman urinating on Zac Efron to treat a jellyfish sting.

Empire magazine writer Nick de Semlyen tweeted: “Did not wake up today expecting to almost instantly see Nicole Kidman pisssing on Zac Efron’s face. Thanks for that, The Paperboy.” [Scroll down to read more tweets.]

Nicole Kidman in "The Paperboy"

In a press conference following the premiere, Daniels played down the fuss, insisting the scene was only being turned into a big deal because it is a known sexual fetish.

He told AFP, “I’m not here to please everybody – I’m here to tell truth. Jellyfish cure is by urinating on the skin; that is just the way Pete Dexter wrote the book. I executed the vision.”

Co-star John Cusack couldn’t believe members of the press were upset by the scene, adding, “Of all the things in the movie that are shocking, that was kind of a light scene!”

Matthew McConaughey (L) and Zac Efron in "The Paperboy"

“The Paperboy” follows Matthew McConaughey’s reporter character Ward, who returns to his native Florida to uncover the truth about a death row inmate (Cusack) he’s convinced was wrongly convicted of murder. Efron plays McConaughey’s teenage brother, who embarks on a brief love affair with local maneater Charlotte (Kidman) as they help Ward uncover the truth.

Watch a clip from “The Paperboy” below. [Scroll down to read what other critics said about the urination scene.]

  • The Daily Telegraph’s Robbie Collin tweeted: “Cinema does not get much weirder than Nicole Kidman pissing on Zac Efron.  …The Paperboy is the first bona fide fiasco of the festival. So bad it has to be seen to be believed. Transcendentally shambolic. #cannes For reals.  …He goes swimming in the sea and gets attacked by about ten jellyfish. Nicole squats over his face and does the needful.”
  • His colleague Anita Singh tweeted: “The Paperboy is 50 percent drama, 50 percent shirtless Zac Efron showing us his underpants… The Paperboy also has a scene of Nicole Kidman weeing on Zac Efron to relieve a jellyfish sting. It’s burned on my retinas.”
  • Xan Brooks from The Guardian: “The Paperboy screens at Cannes. Calamitous Florida noir, buggers fine source novel with abandon. Kidman pisses on Zac Efron (literally)… will have to wait for the press conference. Is she known for ‘going method’?”
  • Indiewire’s James Rocchi described it in a review as “lurid, florid, humid, flaccid and insipid waste of time and money for the audience and for everyone who made it.”