Lee Daniels has brushed off criticism of his new movie The Paperboy after causing controversy in Cannes by debuting a scene in which Nicole Kidman appears to urinate on Zac Efron to treat a jellyfish sting.

The big screen adaptation of author Pete Dexter's book of the same name was met with mixed reviews when the Precious filmmaker premiered the crime thriller at the film festival in France on Thursday (24May12), and many reporters admitted they were turned off by the sight of the Oscar winner relieving herself on Efron.

In a post on Twitter.com, Empire magazine writer Nick de Semlyen writes "Did not wake up today expecting to almost instantly see Nicole Kidman p**sing on Zac Efron's face. Thanks for that, The Paperboy".

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

However, he failed to reveal whether Kidman had actually peed on the actor for real.

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".

And co-star John Cusack couldn't believe members of the press were upset by the sequence, adding, "Of all the things in the movie that are shocking, that was kind of a light scene!"

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.