Zac Efron is at the next stage of his career, and he knows it. Though he’s ceded his teen dream status to Taylor Lautner, the 22-year-old Efron is nothing if not savvy about picking his next wave of projects: Richard Linklater’s “Me and Orson Welles” proved that Efron could go indie for a respected director, while the new romantic drama “Charlie St. Cloud” courts the female audience who’s grown up with him, yet gives Efron his first meaty, adult role. Where will he go from here? As he told Movieline, that’s the question at the forefront of his mind.
In advance of Comic-Con, we published an excerpt of Efron discussing his reluctance to commit to superhero roles, but here’s the full interview, where Efron touches on the evolution of his acting technique, the projects he has in development at his new production shingle (and the idea behind its unique name), and how he feels when shirtless paparazzi photos of him make the cover of People magazine.
Your last two movies were directed by Burr Steers. What is it about him that makes him different from the other directors you’ve worked with?
Burr is very performance-oriented. He’s very good at explaining different points of view and finding interesting motivations; basically, he’s great with actors, and he’s great with me. I’m not necessarily trained — I never have been — I’ve just kind of gone from project to project and learned as I went along, and I always thought everyone I worked with was an “actor’s director” just because they were nice to actors. Burr has sort of redefined that for me. He’s very generous, very giving, and also a perfectionist. I appreciate that because I am too, and I never want to quit until we’ve got it.
You went to the Maui Film Festival recently, and shirtless paparazzi photos of you there ended up on the cover of People in just a few days. Are you conscious of that when it happens? Does being objectified like that frustrate you at all?
It was like, what am I going to do: go to Hawaii and not go to the beach and say for the rest of my life that I didn’t do it because [the paparazzi] were there, or am I just going to brave it, go out, and let all that happen?
So you could be eating at a restaurant, and you know that girl at the corner table is taking a picture of you on her camera phone that she’s going to post to Twitter or Perez Hilton?
It goes through my mind sometimes, you know? I try not to dwell on it, and I try not to put myself in those scenarios. It gets frustrating. I’m definitely aware of it most of the time when it’s happening — I feel like I kind of know what’s really going on.
At least you got the cover of People for “Best Beach Bodies” instead of for doing something bad.
It’s not the worst thing in the world. And you know, aside from that, I had this amazing trip with my brother. He’s just graduated from school, and I haven’t been able to connect with him as much as I’ve wanted to since I’ve been away filming and going on trips. I really got to take him away from the family for the first time to go on a brothers trip, and we had the time of our lives. We just tore it up! Every single day, by the time 8:30 rolled around [at night], one of us would conk out and then we’d wake up at 7 and have a full day of hiking through the jungles of Maui or surfing. We lived it up, and it was really fun.
[Read the whole interview with Zac Efron]