Did Nicole Kidman "sext" Paperboy director Lee Daniels to win the part?!
Not exactly, but during a Thursday press conference at the Cannes Film Festival for the edgy new movie, the Oscar-winning star and mother of four explained to reporters that Daniels initially balked at casting such a huge star in the low-budget film.
Set in the 1960s, Paperboy stars Efron and Matthew McConaughey as two brothers investigating the case of a death row inmate, played by John Cusack; Kidman plays a sex-crazed woman obsessed with marrying Cusack's convicted killer. (Efron's character develops a crush on her.)
"Lee said, 'Look, we've got no money, you're going to have to do your own hair and make-up,'" Kidman, 44, explained of her first discussion with Daniels, whose last film was Precious.
"So I actually went into my bathroom and I got out the fake tan and put on fake eyelashes and got a hairpiece thing that was platinum, threw it all on and texted a photo to Lee in all these different provocative positions," she said of her sexy session of self portraits. "That's how it came together."
Said Kidman of his response: "What he sent back I can't say, but it was a thumbs up."
"I've been looking as an actor for something raw and more dangerous in terms of performances, and then this came along," she explained of the shocking, often kinky film.
"I may be uncomfortable watching the movie. But that's my job -- it's my job to give over to something, not to censor it, not to put my own judgments of how I feel as Nicole playing the character. I am there to portray a truth."
Also at the press conference, Efron said he "had the most lovely time in the world," making the film with Kidman. "I have been in love with her for a long time, since Moulin Rouge. It was the best opportunity in the world for me, and I loved every moment."
Well, maybe not every moment. The hunk frequently wears just tighty-whities in the film -- including one scene in the rain.
"I don't think I was supposed to feel comfortable. It's like life," he said. "This character is supposed to be learning the ways of the world, and that can be very uncomfortable. But it's also exciting."
Joked director Daniels of Efron's underwear scenes: "He's a good-looking guy. And I'm gay. What do you want?"