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Zac Efron may be loved by teenage girls around the world, but he’s trying his best to step away from his “High School Musical” days and focus on becoming a more well-rounded actor.
The 25-year-old has appeared in a handful of independent films over the last few years, including “Me and Orson Welles,” “The Paperboy” and more recently “At Any Price,” for which he attended the premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 19.
Efron briefly chatted with HuffPost Celebrity on the red carpet, admitting he doesn’t know how he became an “indie darling.”
“I don’t know,” he told reporters of what inspired him to make a commitment to films outside of mainstream production. “I’ve been doing a lot of interviews with Dennis [Quaid] and his words of wisdom are sort of just fresh in my mind. Dennis says the only role he sort of had for himself in this career is to do as many different types of movies as possible and never stop stretching or trying something new, particularly roles that challenge you. And working with great directors,” he added, “That’s really all I want to do.”
HuffPost caught up with Quaid at the screening as well, who coincidentally echoed Efron’s sentiments: “The only strategy I’ve ever had is to play as many different types of roles as possible.”
Q: Was Zac Efron interested in NASCAR racing before filming At Any Price? —Megan P., Denver
A: “I was completely new to it,” says Efron, 25, whose character pursues a NASCAR career in the film (in theaters April 24). Despite his inexperience, Efron did his own driving. “They just put me in a car and said, ‘Go!’ At one point, I got up to 140 miles per hour. It was a rush!”
Online Extra: Which star did Zac Efron have a childhood crush on?
“I had a poster of Tyra Banks in my bedroom. She was the only girl I really had a crush on. Other than her, the rest of my posters were skateboards, BMX bikes, and Tony Hawk,” he says. Efron hasn’t met Banks yet, adding “I hope we get to hang out soon. [laughs] I haven’t gotten to meet her yet.”
On High School Musical: “But here’s the one thing about High School Musical, that a lot of people forget or don’t realize. It affected a lot of people, its resonance, culturally, was massive … and at the same time, it was in every sense of it, the luckiest break in the world. The wrong thing to do—and that’s what all these interviews now are trying to get me to say— is to turn on it, to like sh– on it, call it crap. But that’s insane. There are hundreds of people who began doing one thing when they were younger, who go on to develop and refine and shape their vision, as they get older, and other concerns—like fame, or money, take a back seat to other ones.”
On not complaining about his life: “The b—hiness doesn’t do anything. It just puts you out there and it makes you look unappreciative to your fans. If I’m talking to my friends, or somebody important who can have some influence on or affect the situation, that’s one thing, but to b—h about attention while getting attention? I’d be doing it to the very people whose job it is to get that information—who are watching me and have control over that information. Therefore, it makes them upset, they read it like it’s hypocritical, and so they spread some bullsh–. You should hear the chatroom sh– that gets said every time you try to complain. So that’s why I’m not going to complain. I will do a lot of things in my life differently to make sure it’s not known or tweeted about or photographed. But it’s a complete day-to-day situation. I mean, I wish I could sit here and be completely honest—but I guess that’s an even bigger responsibility—and it’d take a more courageous man.”
On making good movies for the studios: “It’s really tough. I feel like I’m in the trenches with them. It’s really hard because I respect these people so much. And they are some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. And they struggle more than I can even comprehend with the problem at hand—the dichotomy—the challenge of making good movies and making movies that people want to watch. And right now, being me, I personally know which ones I want to be in. I feel like the other way. S–t, I feel like I can be effective in one.”
Zac Efron has been spending a lot of time in hotels. The Toronto International Film Festival, where he was promoting the gothic potboiler “The Paperboy” and the family drama “At Any Price,” required him to jet from location to location for interviews and photo shoots. “I think I have seen every hotel in Toronto today,” he says from his seat in the hotel bar. “I could write a guidebook.” Still, the exhausted Efron is gracious and gregarious, stopping to pose for photos and sign autographs for anyone who asks—and a lot of people ask.
Spend any time with Efron and it becomes clear that the burgeoning movie star does not have an equally burgeoning ego. “I might not be the greatest actor, but I walk in to every project willing to work hard,” he says. “There are a lot of people who can slide on talent their whole lives; they’re just naturally gifted. I’ve never considered myself one of those people. I enjoy outworking the opposition.”
Efron is savvy about his shot at longevity in a fickle business. Unlike many actors who hit it big in their teen years, he has kept his head down and concentrated on the work. There have been no public scandals, no drunken outbursts, no reports of bad behavior on set. Efron is wise beyond his 24 years, saying, “I know I’ve been lucky. But it’s what you do with that luck afterwards that really defines whether you stick around.”
Zac Efron says hiking in Bicol is one of his most memorable experiences in the Philippines
Zac Efron considers his visit to the Philippines as a “dream come true.”
So when local clothing brand Penshoppe asked him to be their endorser, Zac did not hesitate to accept the offer.
“They don’t really have to convince me. I’ve always wanted to come out to the Philippines,” said the 24-year-old Hollywood actor in an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Spot.ph, and Candy Magazine earlier today, September 29, at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Manila.
“I was thrilled that a brand like Penshoppe, you know, has an opportunity like this for me and they wanted me to do it.
“I was ecstatic not only because of the brand but it’s also very cool. They gave me a chance to go to the Philippines, which I always wanna do.”
Since he was a kid, the High School Musical star has heard things about the Philippines through his father, a former merchant marine who often visited the country in the past.
Zac recalled, “When I was young, my dad used to come out here a lot.
“When I was young, he was always the adventurous type.
“You know, I always admire him for going out and experiencing different culture and seeing the world, specifically the Philippines. So I always wanted to come out here.
“When Penshoppe said that I could do it, I was like really thrilled. I couldn’t believe it—it’s like a dream come true.”
OUTDOOR TYPE. It looks like Zac got the outdoorsy characteristic of his father. This became evident when PEP asked him about the things he wants to do before turning 30.
He replied, “I would love to see more of the world—that’s the best thing.
“That’s one of my favorite things about being in this industry, it opens eyes to different culture.
“I really love to be out there and experience the world. I don’t like to stay at home.”
Broadcast giant GMA Network recently inked an agreement with leading publicity firm PR Asia Worldwide to be the official broadcast media partner of Penshoppe Fan Conference 2012 which will present Zac Efron live at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on September 29, 2012.
Followers of the international star can witness the year’s biggest Hollywood arrival by accumulating a single-receipt purchase made at selected Penshoppe branches and exchanged for SM Tickets until September 23.
For every single receipt purchase worth P800 (general admission), P1,200 (upper box), P2,500 (lower box), P3, 500 (patron) and P5,000 (VIP front seats), customers must request for a FanCon voucher signed by the store manager. Customer must then present the voucher to any SM Tickets (www.smtickets.com) branch nationwide in exchange for the actual FanCon ticket.
In his first gay-press interview, Zac Efron talks marriage equality, gay rumors, and why he almost went commando for his new film, The Paperboy.
Zac Efron was turning gay heads way before director Lee Daniels stripped him to his skivvies for the pulpy, ’60s-set southern thriller The Paperboy, which steams up theaters October 5. The High School Musical heartthrob is finally ready to return the love in his first gay press interview, which even he acknowledges is long overdue.
It’s good to see you return to your dancing roots with Nicole Kidman in the trailer for The Paperboy, but your moves seem to have gotten wetter and more naked.
Believe it or not, that dance in the rain wasn’t planned. Nicole’s fun to work with because she’s very improvisational. She just started dancing with me, and we went with the moment.
Surely you knew that scene would attract some prurient attention.
With a scene like that, you just have to stick with it and see where it takes you. After the fact, though, I remember thinking, Oh, jeez, what did I just get myself into?
Matthew McConaughey, your Paperboy costar, helped design his thong for Magic Mike. Did you help select your white briefs?
I did, yeah. It’s a period movie, so there weren’t really a lot of choices. Initially, I wondered if my character would even wear underwear at all. But that would’ve been a very different movie.
Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all North American and Eastern European rights, excluding CIS and Russia, to Ramin Bahrani’s family drama “At Any Price.”
Black Bear Pictures and TreeHouse Pictures financed “Price,” which is in competition in Venice and will be a special presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival. The Venice showing will be the world premiere for “At Any Price.”
Bahrani directed and co-wrote the film with Hallie Elizabeth Newton. It stars Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron, Kim Dickens and Heather Graham.
The film was produced by Pamela Koffler, Teddy Schwarzman, Justin Nappi, Kevin Turen, Christine Vachon, and Bahrani. Ron Curtis, Mo Al Turki, Eric Nyari and Brian Young exec produce.
Story centers on a young man, played by Efron, who wants to pursue his dream of becoming a pro race car driver, while his ambitious father (Quaid) has alienated the whole family and set his sights on his son’s succession. When a high-stakes investigation into their business is exposed, father and son are pushed into an unexpected situation that threatens the family’s livelihood.
Young Hollywood actor Zac Efron has humbly insisted that he is a far cry from being the heartthrob that the public claims him to be. Efron found his fame and army of female fans with his stint in Disney’s “High School Musical” films.
The young actor told the New York Daily News that he really does not see himself as a sex symbol. Efron also shared that his family and friends helped him in many ways in order to keep his feet firmly on the ground.
“They know exactly who I am and I’m far from a heartthrob,” said the 24-year-old Efron. “That word kind of follows you around, but I don’t know how exactly one earns it,” he added.
Meanwhile, Efron also revealed how he manages to keep his real and celebrity life apart.
“You kind of put life into two parts of your mind. There’s the Hollywood section and then there’s real life. One of them is more of a show but it never overshadows real life for me. As long as you can draw a comparison between the two, one of which you know to be more important, you’re good. For me, the choice is very easy. One is where I work, one is where I live,” the actor revealed to the New York Daily News.
Despite his humility with these given symbolic titles of being sexy and a heartthrob, Zac Efron is still gaining recognition, mostly with female audiences, for his looks and acting abilities. Efron was named second on the People’s 2011 Most Beautiful list.
For this year, Efron became busy with numerous projects, which includes his voice character as Ted Wiggins in the animated film “The Lorax” and starring in the film adaptation of Nicholas Spark’s novel “The Lucky One.” To make him even busier, Efron has also filmed his role in the upcoming independent film “The Paperboy” alongside Australian actress Nicole Kidman. With that, Zac Efron’s legion of female fans will definitely be delighted to see more of the young heartthrob actor on the big screen.
Warner Bros is in talks with Jason Bateman, Zac Efron, Goldie Hawn and Leslie Mann to headline the ensemble of This Is Where I Leave You, the Adam Shankman-directed adaptation of the Jonathan Tropper comic novel about four siblings who come home to sit shiva for their deceased father. They are trapped in the house for seven days, and all the skeletons are bared. Tropper, who memorably adapted Harvey into a script that once had Steven Spielberg committed to direct, adapted his own novel. It is a script that is drawing interest from a lot of talent, with other stars expected to step up for other roles in the ensemble.
Spring Creek’s Paula Weinstein and Jeff Levine are producing with Shankman’s Offspring Entertainment partner Jennifer Gibgot. Hawn, who last starred in 2002′s The Banger Sisters, is in talks to play the clan’s mother. Bateman, Efron (whom Shankman directed in Hairspray) and Mann will play siblings. The intention is to begin production in early September. Shankman just directed the musical Rock of Ages, with Tom Cruise starring.
Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron‘s scene in which she pees on him in their new film The Paperboy has been one of the hottest stories from the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
The film’s director Lee Daniels sat down with GQ to talk about the scene and other controversial moments in his work.
On why the pee scene was necessary: “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. 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!” 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.””
On Zac’s reactions while filming the scene: “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.”
On Zac’s scenes in just his tightie whities: “I was just like, how can I make him look ugly? I couldn’t. Matthew [McConaughey] is handsome, at least, is older, so I could rough him up, but fucking Zac? It was hard. I kept twisting the camera but he always looked good. The tightie whities?”
FYI: In the scene, Nicole‘s character pees on Zac‘s character after he is stung by a jellyfish while swimming in the ocean.
CANNES, France—Zac Efron felt uncomfortable filming his revealing role “The Paperboy”—and he says that’s the way he wanted it.
The “High School Musical” actor has moved into decidedly grown-up territory with the film by “Precious” director Lee Daniels, which screened Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival.
It’s a swampy slice of Southern gothic set in the 1960s, with Efron as an aspiring writer helping his journalist brother (Matthew McConaughey) investigate a possible miscarriage of justice. Efron’s Jack falls for Nicole Kidman’s sparky but sultry femme fatale, who is in turn obsessed with a death row inmate (a supremely creepy John Cusack).
The cast also includes singer Macy Gray as Jack’s family maid and surrogate mother, and British actor David Oyelowo as an ambitious big-city journalist.
Efron spends much of the film in his underpants, but says he didn’t mind the scrutiny.
“I don’t think I was supposed to feel comfortable,” the 24-year-old actor told reporters in Cannes. “It’s like life. This character is supposed to be learning the ways of the
world, and that can be very uncomfortable. But it’s also exciting.”
Daniels had a shallower explanation for all the Efron flesh on display. “He’s a good-looking guy,” the director said. “And I’m gay. What do you want?”
Efron is not the only actor asked to bare his soul in the movie, which combines a crime thriller plot with a swampy landscape and undercurrents of racism and sexuality into a pungent gumbo.
Cusack sheds a lifetime of good guy roles to play the sweaty, sinister inmate, and loved every minute of it.
“I felt like I’d been let out of some cage,” Cusack said. Kidman also stretches herself, playing a sexually adventurous woman drawn to danger. In one memorable scene she administers to Efron the traditional treatment for jellyfish sting—urine. “I’d been looking as an actor for something raw and something dangerous,” Kidman said.
“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.
“I don’t want to be pigeonholed,” she added. “I’m willing to fail because of that. I just want to try.”
Kidman worked hard to create Charlotte Bless, interviewing women who were in love with convicts and putting together the character’s bold look.
What should audiences expect from the film?
I think that it’s a thriller that studies sex and race and the coming of age of a boy to manhood. Pete Dexter adapted his own novel, something that novelists aren’t always comfortable doing.
How did you work with him?
There was always Pete Dexter’s screenplay. Pedro Almodovar [who at one point was planning to direct the film] had written a draft also. But Pete’s was sort of the one I based my spin on. He wrote a script and I sort of rewrote, added on to what he wrote. He did a great job. I had my own take on it. I had a very specific take on race. Look, I had just left Selma, so I had that race issue in the ’60s bubbling up in me, waiting to explode. And I took a lot of that and laced it throughout Paperboy, which added another element to the story.
You’ve got a very high-profile cast. How did it come about?
Casting was a circus. It was crazy. We kept losing actors because we kept pushing the start date. We started out with one cast and ended up with another. We started out with Tobey Maguire and Sofia Vergara and Bradley Cooper and we ended up with Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey and Nicole Kidman. Crazy. I think the universe plays it exactly as it’s supposed to. I couldn’t be prouder of each of the actors in the film. They serviced Pete’s characters magnificently.
Zac Efron is the relative newcomer in the cast. How did he hold his own?
Zac Efron, he is hungry. That is the best way to describe Zac. He is hungry and eager. He really gave it to me, man. He brought it home for me.
How did the invitation to come to Cannes come about?
They kept asking. I wasn’t even done. We were about six months pregnant with the film. It was almost there, but it wasn’t quite there yet. But the producers were like, “We’ve got to go to Cannes, we’ve got to commit to Cannes.” For me, I don’t do movies for festivals. I like to wait until the movie is finished and then figure out where the film is supposed to be placed. Cannes felt a little early. But I had no say because I don’t own this film like I did with my others. I was a director for hire. But it all worked out for the good.
You’ve been to Cannes many times before, both in the festival sidebars and last year selling rights to The Paperboy. What’s it mean for you to finally be in the Competition?
This one is an out-of-body experience because it’s in Competition. It sounds corny to say it, but I’m humbled. That’s the only way to describe it, but I’m still sort of in shock and humbled that I’m in the Competition.