Zac Efron’s recent movie, “Me and Orson Welles,” scored several nominations to this year’s BAFTA Awards. However, this is only the preliminary to the actual nominations which are going to be announced on 21 January 2009. The members of the Academy are going to vote, so let’s hope Zac Efron’s movie will be included in top 5.
Here are the categories:
• Adapted Screenplay
• Costume Design
• Make Up & Hair
Congratulations to Zac as well as to Claire Danes and Christian McKay. Claire and Christian scored nominations for best supporting actors.
There are three things to learn watching “Me and Orson Welles.” Zac Efron can act. British thespian Christian McKay is Hollywood’s discovery of 2009. And a movie about the “theat-uh” can be more than a snore. Set during one week in 1937, director Richard Linklater zeroes in on a 22-year-old Orson Welles as he rehearses his ground-breaking New York production of “Julius Caesar.”
The chaos. The drama. Welles’ bombastic charms. His romantic dalliances. You can almost smell the greasepaint in the air in Linklater’s exhilarating ode to Welles’ youthful heyday.
“People think they know Welles from “War of the Worlds,” “Citizen Kane” and beyond. But, his early time in New York were his real glory days,” Linklater, 49, told CTV.ca.
“Everything Orson touched back then turned to gold. Theatre. Radio. He launched his Mercury Theatre. He was a showman firing on all cylinders. Nothing ever matched that time again,” says Linklater.
Adding to this story’s pandemonium is the brash arrival of teenaged thespian Richard Samuels (Zac Efron). Desperate to break into the theatre, Richard blunders into a meeting with genius Welles and wins a small role in the play. Suddenly Richard is sucked up into a world of glamour, over-the-top egos and artistic treachery.
“I am Orson Welles!” McKay thunders at Richard and everyone else who dares to breathe the same air that he does.
Welles humiliates his company members. He coddles them. He zings them with poisoned arrows then lets them sob on his shoulder. Every inch along the way McKay embodies Welles right down to his booming voice and sly, ego-slaying smile.
“Finding Christian was just meant to be,” says the Houston, Texas-born Linklater.
Just when Linklater thought no actor could fill Welles’ shoes, he found McKay at London’s Royal Shakespeare Company.
“Christian was a dead ringer for Welles,” says Linklater. “There are so few actors on the planet who could have pulled this role off. Christian did it in spades.”
“Me and Orson Welles” is, first to last, McKay’s show. Yet, Efron gives a surprisingly sturdy performance as the youthful wannabe wounded by his art and the artifice of one ambitious theatre assistant (Claire Danes).
“Zac brought a lot of his own past to this role,” says Linklater. “He told me it reminded him of all the seat-of-your-pants theatre productions he had ever done.”
Linklater also says the “High School Musical” star is a better actor than critics believe.
“Zac wasn’t just this kid coming from California who didn’t fit in here. He held is own against everyone else on the set,” says Linklater.
As for the Welles’ superhuman career, Linklater says, “Nothing about Welles ever ceases to amaze me. It is astonishing that he accomplished so much at such a young age. The more I learned about him on this film, the greater my respect for Welles grew.” [Source]
“Me and Orson Welles” may have been the first Zac Efron movie not to debut at number one, but it wasn’t supposed to. It’s a smaller movie he chose to explore a bit more of his craft outside the high school, singing, dancing, basketball genres.
“You know, we tried to do the musical version, but we couldn’t get the rights,” Efron joked. “No, it was different and it was a very unique opportunity for me at the time and it still is. I think it was something that just didn’t seem so cut and dry. It wasn’t an obvious decision. Even I was a bit surprised, and that’s very cool. I hope I can continue to maintain that and have those options. I mean, that’s why we do this, to grow, and try new things, and that was exactly what this movie represented for me. It came at the perfect time.”
Efron plays a young actor who gets to work in Welles’ famous production of Julius Caesar. “It seemed ambitious to make a film about Orson, because [director] Ric[hard Linklater] says we made a sort of a screwball comedy at times about Welles, which is something that he would have never done himself. He never would have made a screwball comedy, so we put him into a movie that he never would have [made]. I just thought that was so funny. Rick is full of those.”
The film was not Efron’s first encounter with the legendary filmmaker, however. “I was probably 16, and I worked with a director who said that his favorite movie of all time was Citizen Kane. As a wrap gift, he gave me the DVD and I was definitely fascinated by it and I thought that it was an incredible movie but I was probably too young to fully appreciate it at that point.”
Efron’s character learns a valuable lesson about dealing with Hollywood egos, and they don’t come much bigger than Welles. Fortunately, in real life, 70-some years later, it’s been easier for Efron.
“I think things have changed a little bit. I’ve never had an experience quite like that. I’d say it was reminiscent of a lot of my early theater experiences. It’s pretty cut throat, there’s always another kid on the sidelines ready to take your place, but never experience it quite like Orson, I don’t think.”
“Me and Orson Welles” is out in theaters now. [Source]
“High School Musical” star Zac Efron said he views his role in the independent U.S. film “Me and Orson Welles” as a “step forward” in his acting career. Efron, 22, said he wanted to throw himself a “curveball” by portraying teenage character Richard Samuels who works alongside the famed film director on a Broadway production, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
“It wasn’t another musical,” said Efron, referring to his “High School Musical” roots. “It was definitely a step forward in my opinion, and a risk, and something that I wasn’t even expecting of myself at the time, so I knew no one else would be. It would be kind of a curveball.”
Efron downplayed the industry stigma attached to an actor or actress best known for lighthearted teen fare such as “Musical,” saying his challenge is choosing the next best project.
“I’d say the challenge right now is finding specifically what to try and work on next,” Efron told the Post. “It’s not in terms of people being close-minded, really, to be honest.” [Source]
At the Cinema Society opening of “Me and Orson Welles” on Monday night, the actor had to stop in the middle of an interview when another Zac walked by. Efron got flustered, halted mid-sentence and asked his publicist, “Wait … is that Zac Posen? Wow.”
After regaining his composure and apologizing to the reporter, Efron stopped once more when photographers’ flashing bulbs signaled that Amber Rose had shown up – sans Kanye West. “Amber Rose is here?” he asked incredulously.
At least the admiration was mutual. Rose nervously approached the heartthrob at the Gramercy Park Hotel’s Three Olives fete later in the evening and asked him to pose for photos with her. Gushed Efron yet again: “I just can’t believe she’s here.”
But the 22-year-old was a little less humble when he admitted that kissing Claire Danes, who plays his love interest in the movie, came “relatively easy.” Said Efron, with a smile, “She is a very beautiful lady.” [Source]