Photoshoots > 061 – Ben Watts (2010)
It was the hardest phone call of his life. Buoyed by the global success of the Disney High School Musical phenomenon, Zac Efron was poised for an easy kill. All he had to do was say “yes” to the remake of Footloose. It would net him a lazy $10 million, be a sure-fire hit and establish him as a stand-alone marquee name. It was a no-brainer.
And everybody expected him to do it, especially his HSM director Kenny Ortega, who was set to helm the film. But Efron wanted to run his own race, be his own man. He’d already signaled as much with his self-spoofing appearances on Saturday Night Live, Robot Chicken and Entourage. So, mid-2009, he called Ortega and said what nobody wanted to hear.
“It was a very hard decision,” Efron recalls. “It was one of the first times I’ve ever, in my life, just . . .” He trails off, then pauses. Efron, 22, is here promoting his new film, the quality weepie Charlie St Cloud. But right now, lightly bearded and shifting uncomfortably in a Sydney hotel room chair, his head is inside the moment.
“It was the first time I made a decision based on what I felt in my heart. Everyone had geared me to do what was [supposed to be] the right decision. So, for the first time, it was like me against the world.” He pauses again. He’s glad he went with his instincts but also knows he upset a lot of people, particularly Ortega, who — sans his leading man — promptly pulled out of the picture.
“Yeah, it sucks, man,” Efron says. “I mean, I put a lot of friggin’ work into that film, too. I remember racking my brain trying to figure it out and how it could some way work.
“But every time I looked in the mirror it was like” — he pauses — ” ‘This is the first time I’m going to have to be selfish. I’ve got to do something for me. I’ve got to see how far I can take this. I know that I can do that. I know that I can pull it off and it would be great and very lucrative and incredibly fun — but at the end of the day is that what I’m here to do?’ ”
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Source: The Sydney Morning Herald