Director Lee Daniels explains to GQ’s Logan Hill what the hell he was thinking with his instantly infamous scene from tthe Cannes Film Festival so-bad-its-good (or maybe just plain bad) conversation-starter. Click here to watch a scene.
The big headline going around the Internet today is: “Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron.”
Of course. Because you have Nicole Kidman pee on Zac Efron. That’s the way the Internet works. Three other women offer to pee on Zac Efron’s jellyfish wounds and Kidman says, “If anyone’s gonna pee on you…”
"…it’s gonna be me."
Funniest line of the festival. Tell me about that scene. Why did it have to be in there?
Well, I got nervous at the end, after we shot it. So I called Nicole. First of all, it was really hard to shoot. 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.
Ha! You front-loaded it, so that way if they try to back out…
I got it! Yes, I got it! Yes, see ya! …But, when right before I sent it off to Cannes, I called Nicole at three in the morning. I said, “Nicole, I can’t do it, I’ve gone too far. I can’t put that scene in the movie.” She said, “Lee, you made me pee on Zac Efron, if you don’t put that in the movie, you’re out of your freakin’ mind. I did it! I did it!” [A publicist interrupts with a two-minute warning.] No, not yet, yo! This is GQ, this is my favorite magazine. We gotta keep talking… What was I saying?
You were talking to Nicole.
She said, “No way, you’re out of your mind.” So we put it in. That was the one where I thought, “Oh… No…” When you’re doing the script it makes sense, when you’re shooting it, it makes sense, but then you see the totality and you’re like, “Woah. Woah.”
What was it that made you worry? Walk me through it.
Look, the dude [Efron] gets a hard-on because he’s sitting there staring at [Kidman’s] ass. But I couldn’t go there because I refused to show the hard-on. I wasn’t going to do that. Then she says, “Take that hard-on and go over to those other girls [nearby on the beach].” In the book, he goes into the water to swim off the hard-on, but I had to reconstruct the scene because it was too much.
So you’re thinking, it’s already toned down…
It’s already way down, dude! Way down. And then he goes swimming and he’s attacked by jellyfish. And how you fix it is with urine. And it’s brilliantly written by Pete Dexter.
But, let’s be honest, then you go for it! It’s not like it’s framed by a palm tree and you barely see it. You zoom in on Nicole’s thighs and we see the golden shower! There’s no cut-away. You went for it, c’mon.
Let me ask you something, dude, what did you think?
I howled. Of course I did: It’s Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Efron.
Ha! And if you could have watched Zac’s face: He’s supposed to be passed out and [while she’s peeing] 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.