Zac Efron says his movie career is at a crossroads, and the former Disney teen idol is tempted more by less pay and hard graft than blockbusters and big bucks.
The 24-year-old, who became a household name in “High School Musical,” was in Venice for the world premiere of “At Any Price,” set in the cut-throat world of agriculture in which he plays Dean and Dennis Quaid his father Henry.
Efron’s appearance on the Lido island across the water from the Canal City drew crowds of screaming girls begging for his autograph, and came a few months after he walked the red carpet in Cannes with another small-budget drama “The Paperboy.”
Directed by Ramin Bahrani, “At Any Price” blends family drama with a searing attack on big business and chasing profits whatever the cost, as farmers in Iowa cut corners and cook the books in order to fulfil the mantra “expand or die”.
“All I have, really, is the ability to look back at my elders and the people that I really respect in this industry, the actors that have been here before and really made an impact… and I put myself in their shoes,” Efron said.
“I sort of stand here with, say, two roads in front of me,” he said after a press screening of the film and ahead of its red carpet premiere at a glitzy evening gala. “One (is) the easy path… towards money and the other one being towards playing more interesting roles that I don’t have all the answers to, or going with Ramin into the cornfields for a couple of weeks. It seems like the choice that I respect more. I’m following my gut here and this is what I want to be doing, you know. I’m hungry for it.”
Efron is one of several rising Hollywood stars in Venice this year, along with Selena Gomez (“Spring Breakers”) and Shia LaBeouf (“The Company You Keep”). Venice organisers are hoping that young blood will help compensate for the lack of A-listers appearing at the world’s oldest film festival this year.
For director Bahrani, “At Any Price” contains important themes of corporate greed and economic desperation that are being felt the world over.
“I don’t want to say what the moral of the film is. I don’t know,” he said. “I wanted to ask questions, like what happens when you value expansion more than your community, more than yourself?… Where have we gone in a world (where) the people who profited the most have gotten away with it and are dancing on top of everybody else?”
He likened Efron to more established actors like Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise and Paul Newman.
While some critics may argue such comparisons are premature, early reviews of the film have singled out Quaid and Efron for their performances.
“Continuing to distance himself from his origins as a pretty-boy teen idol, he (Efron) brings an intense, brooding stillness to the screen here, simmering with the frustrations of small-town entrapment,” wrote the Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney. [Source]
Zac Efron attended “At Any Price” premiere during the 69th Venice Film Festival at the Palazzo del Cinema on August 31, 2012 in Venice, Italy. Enjoy the pics! UPDATED!
• [8/31] ‘At Any Price’ Venice Premiere (x135)
Zac Efron attended “At Any Price” photocall during the 69th Venice Film Festival at the Palazzo del Casino on August 31, 2012 in Venice, Italy. Enjoy the pics!
• [8/31] ‘At Any Price’ Photocall In Venice (x233)
Zac Efron attended the Lancia Cafe during the 69th Venice Film Festival on August 31, 2012 in Venice, Italy. Enjoy the pics!
• [8/31] Zac Efron Attends Lancia Cafe (x9)
Zac Efron was spotted arriving at the Excelsior Hotel in Venice on August 31st, 2012. Enjoy the pics!
• [8/31] Arriving At Excelsior Hotel In Venice (x36)
Zac Efron was spotted leaving 69th Venice Film Festival in Venice on August 31st, 2012. Enjoy the pics!
• [8/31] Leaving 69th Venice Film Festival In Venice (x3)
Zac Efron was spotted arriving to Venice, Italy, on August 30th, 2012. Enjoy the pics!
Zac Efron has been tapped to star in director Tom Gormican’s romantic comedy Are We Officially Dating?
QED International will shop the project to foreign buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival. The screenplay, penned by Gormican, was the top-rated comedy on the 2010 Black List.
“Are We Officially Dating? revolves around three friends in New York City who make a pact to remain single just as each starts to fall in love. Production is scheduled to begin in November in New York.
Treehouse Pictures’ Justin Nappi and Kevin Turen will produce with Scott Aversano and Andrew O’Connor. Michael Simkin, Jason Barrett and Manu Gargi are executive producing.
“Are We Officially Dating? is a story about timing and your 20s and just how difficult it can be,” said Nappi in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be teaming with Tom Gormican on his relatable script, which will resonate with a large audience.”
Said QED International CEO Bill Block: “We strongly believe in the global appeal of this project, and we’re excited to work with the team at Treehouse Pictures to bring it to market in Toronto. Are We Officially Dating? is an excellent addition to QED’s growing sales slate and underscores our commitment to commercial, filmmaker-driven product.”
Efron is at the Venice Film Festival with At Any Price. He will continue the festival rounds at Toronto with “The Paperboy” and next appears in Liberal Arts. Gormican, who recently sold “Bad Form” to Warner Bros. and “Save the Date” to Sony, is working on a pilot with Greg Daniels and Tracy Katsky.
Gormican is repped by WME and 3Arts. Efron is repped by CAA, Alchemy Entertainment and Patty Felker. [Source]