If there’s any dreamier actor in movies today than Zac Efron, we haven’t met him. Since becoming a cultural phenomenon in the “High School Musical” movies, the former Disney star has slowly but effectively built a career for himself as a leading man in movies like “Hairspray,” “17 Again,” and his latest effort, “Charlie St. Cloud,” which reunites him with his “17 Again” director Burr Steers, and offers audiences another opportunity to gaze into those crystal blue eyes of his.
In the film, Efron plays the title character, an ambitious high school graduate who foregoes a promising college career after his younger brother dies in an automobile accident. Hollywood News sat down with Efron last weekend at the Los Angeles press day for “Charlie St. Cloud,” where he discussed the challenges of the role, explored his own evolution as an actor, and examined the “it factor” that has found him a place among Hollywood’s most in-demand movie stars.
You and Charlie Tahan have terrific chemistry as brothers on screen. Did you have a lot of time to get to know one another before filming began?
Zac Efron: Yeah. We tried to have fun and do stuff outside of set. What’d we do? We went to hockey games. We saw a bunch of sports and stuff. And then we just played catch every day and sort of got in that rhythm. Yeah, it was fun.
You helped Burr Steers get the job directing this. Why did you decide you wanted to work with him again after “17 Again”?
Zac Efron: I didn’t so much get Burr the job. Burr called me and said, “are you serious about this? Because I’m in.” And I’m like, all right. Let’s do it, you know. So, he really responded to it. And that was just exciting to me. I was stoked. I knew this was even more so in Burr’s wheelhouse than “17 Again.” And I just knew we’d be lucky to have him involved.
What is Burr like as a director?
Zac Efron: He’s very generous with the actors. It’s funny, ’cause Burr is rare to give a camera note or anything like that, but guaranteed, every take he’s running over to talk to us. And he’s got so much to say – an opinion or a new point of view or something to think about. Which is great for me. I enjoy that much attention from your director. I think it’s great. When they’re not worried about the other stuff, they really care about your performance. He’s performance oriented, definitely, deep down.
Teen heartthrob Zac Efron is becoming a bona fide movie star. The 22-year-old actor, who crooned his way into our collective consciousness via Disney’s “High School Musical” and the big-screen musical remake of “Hairspray,” is starring in a new drama with an award-winning cast and a sexy onscreen love interest. “Charlie St. Cloud,” in theaters nationwide July 30, follows a small-town achiever (Efron, in the title role) who gives up big dreams after a tragic accident kills his younger brother. The jury’s still out on whether nuanced turns by Efron and co-stars Kim Basinger and Ray Liotta will win critical praise – or if “Charlie St. Cloud,” adapted from Ben Sherwood’s popular novel, employs too many schmaltzy emotional hooks. But one thing is certain: Efron lights up the screen.
When Efron came to town a few weeks ago to throw some baseballs with Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell and the Dan Perez campers at Murphey Candler Park, he sat down in the field house to talk about the film, what’s playing on his iPod, and how his love life’s going.
“Charlie St. Cloud” is being described as a cross between “The Sixth Sense” and “Field of Dreams.” Was it tough to play an intense dramatic role like this one?
Zac: [Playing Charlie] was the fun part – getting in there and imagining that. It was a different vibe on set. Hopefully [audiences] will have an emotional reaction and walk away thinking. [The film is] uplifting at the end. It doesn’t end on a sad note. It’s a journey you have to go through to experience it.
What was it like to film the underwater scenes?
Zac: You think, “Oh, it’s just a movie,” but it’s actually very real. We had a 20-feet-deep tank with a boat flipped upside down, submerged. I was free diving from air tank to air tank. You couldn’t come up for air at the end of a take. Some of the takes were like a minute and a half long. You’re so out of breath, you’re still 20 feet under water and then somebody hands you a respirator. No goggles. It was a week of underwater filming in a pool with chlorine. My eyes were swollen. But it was so much fun at the same time.
You and co-star Amanda Crew [“Final Destination 3”] have some real chemistry.
Zac: It wasn’t hard. Doing this was different and new for both of us. We committed and rehearsed a lot. Being on that journey together and having somebody on this wild ride is really important. We definitely connected.
Zac Efron is ready to let the world know which team he’s rooting for in “The Twilight Saga” battle – Robert Pattinson’s character, the vampire Edward Cullen, or Taylor Lautner’s, the werewolf Jacob Black.
“I need to catch up. I need to see the last film before I can fully decide,” Efron told OnTheRedCarpet.com. “Based on the first one, I think Team Edward for sure. I haven’t seen the latest ones yet, but I will.” [Source]
Zac Efron has revealed that he and partner Vanessa Hudgens are “having a lot of fun together”. Speaking to Parade magazine, the Charlie St. Cloud star said that Hudgens helps him keep his small Hollywood Hills home looking neat.
“I’m not neat by nature, but I’m kind of figuring it out – and Vanessa helps out a lot,” the 22-year-old explained.
He added of his relationship with Hudgens: “Right now, we’re doing great and just having a lot of fun together.” [Source]
Teen heartthrob Zac Efron announced on Tuesday’s episode of “The Tonight with Jay Leno” that he plans to take snowboarding lessons from none other than Shaun White. Efron presented White with his award for Best Male U.S. Olympic Athlete at the 2010 ESPY Awards last week, and has expressed an admiration for the Olympic gold medalist.
“I actually got Shaun’s number and I’m going to try to go snowboarding with him,” Efron told Leno. “He’s great. He’s someone from my generation that I really look up to. When he pulled those stunts at the Olympics, that was insane.”
Efron stars in the upcoming film “Charlie St. Cloud.” No word yet on when or where the rendezvous would take place. [Source]