Kidman "oversexed Barbie Doll" in gritty Cannes film

Thu May 24, 2012 12:25pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Nicole Kidman plays an "oversexed Barbie doll" in the hard-hitting murder drama "The Paperboy", premiering at the Cannes film festival on Thursday and notable for arresting scenes of sex, violence and urination.

In the adaptation of a Pete Dexter novel, the Australian Oscar winner plays trailer-trash bombshell Charlotte Bless, who is obsessed with a man on death row with whom she exchanges letters.

She is drawn into a newspaper investigation into the prisoner, who may have been wrongfully convicted, triggering a frantic series of sexual encounters, humorous exchanges and a dangerous game of violence and death in the Florida swamps.

Two scenes in particular had critics and reporters chattering in Cannes after a press screening.

In one Bless urinates on Zac Efron's character Jack after he is badly stung by jellyfish in the sea, while the second is a bizarre and unflinching portrayal of a sex scene set in a prison visiting room that involves no physical contact at all.

Kidman, in a figure-hugging vermilion dress for her Cannes photo call, was asked at a press conference whether she found shooting the scenes embarrassing:

"Strangely no, because I think I had to step into a place to play the character where I didn't step out of it and look at myself, so it wasn't hard to shoot.

"This is what (director) Lee (Daniels) brought out of me and so it didn't feel uncomfortable at the time," Kidman added.   Continued...

Cast member Nicole Kidman attends a news conference for the film "The Paperboy" in competition at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, May 24, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann