Lee Daniels chatted with Vulture about his latest rabble-rouser: steamy Southern crime drama, The Paperboy. The film, which centers around a trio of characters connected to the fate of a death-row inmate, features some very risque scenes sure to make your mama blush (that is, if you’re insane enough to take mom to a screening). Daniels spoke frankly about his knack for dividing critics, sex scenes with Paperboy stars Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron (getting his actors to “go there” with him), and briefly touched on his next project, The Butler, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah.
You can read the full interview online, but here are a few choice excerpts:
(On reactions to the film at Cannes) “We had gotten a ten-minute standing ovation for Precious, so the concept of being booed … I’m telling you, I walked the red carpet after that, and if you really study those pictures, you see a kid who was abused by his dad. I retreated to that place.
(On directing Nicole Kidman to pee on Zac Efron) “I think that I became more nervous about it in the edit room, and I thought, I’m not actually going to show this, right? Is it vulgar? And I called Nicole and said, ‘I don’t know,’ and she said, ‘Lee, you made me pee on Zac Efron. If you don’t put it in the movie, you need to man up.’ And I was like, ‘All right, I ain’t gonna pussy out! Okay.'”
The Paperboy opened to a limited release on Oct. 5.