Nicole Kidman pees all over Zac Efron in the pulpy sex drama “The Paperboy” and, yes, you read that correctly. But don’t expect him to get excited about this whizzer from an A-lister.
He swears he can barely recall the experience, despite several takes of the scene, which occurs after his studly character Jack is stung by a jellyfish. Kidman’s trampy Charlotte, hot for Jack’s buff bod, administers a home remedy straight from the source.
“I can’t remember. It was a few (takes). My character was sort of unconscious for it,” a smiling Efron said Friday, after arriving in Toronto for Friday night’s TIFF screening of “The Paperboy.”
The man is clearly game for anything, which might surprise people who think of him first and foremost as a wholesome crooner from Disney’s “High School Musical” franchise.
His openness likely wouldn’t shock anyone who has read his revelation in The Advocate magazine that while he’s straight, “I just can’t see what’s so wrong about being gay.”
Efron, 24, sat with one of his “Paperboy” co-stars, Britain’s David Oyelowo, 36, to chat with the Star about the methods of director Lee (Lee Daniels of “Precious”) and the moments of glee in this 1969-set Florida crime saga, which also stars Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack and Macy Gray.
OK, inquiring minds what to know: is that real whiz or just Mountain Dew that Kidman administers to you in the film?
Zac Efron: Now I can say this. Lee just kept saying to me, “She’s really going to pee on you!” He wanted me to react with a good scare, but I was just like, “It’s cool. I’m ready. I’m ready to rock.” But I still don’t know what happened. I was in the moment… nah, they had a rig! It’s not actually Nicole’s pee!”
Also eye-catching is how often Zac takes his shirt off, even for a place like Florida. Did you have a contractual obligation to remove it a certain number of times?
Zac Efron: Believe it or not, no! The shirt was revolutionary. I think Lee inspires a sort of fearlessness. I think he requires that, amongst his actors especially. He might come up to you at the last minute and tell you something pretty big about your character, something new you’re just wishing to try. Nothing is safe; you have to be prepared to bare it all.
Before news of his endorsement with local retail giant Penshoppe broke out, all we ever knew about Zac Efron’s connection to the Philippines was that his former “High School Musical” sweetheart, Vanessa Hudgens, is of Filipino descent.
But now, we’ve actually discovered that the teen heartthrob-turned-Hollywood hunk has more ties to our beautiful, sunny shores than we’d originally thought. Get this: he’s actually very, very excited about his trip. And no, that’s not just lip service.
Coming straight from the international premiere of his latest movie, “The Paperboy,” Zac is set to appear in this year’s Penshoppe Fan Conference on Sept. 29, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Gates open at 6PM.
It will be Zac’s first time in the Philippines. Initially, he wasn’t so keen about doing endorsements. But when he heard that Penshoppe is a Filipino brand, he immediately said yes.
“It’s the perfect, perfect excuse to finally visit. I can’t take my mind off that country,” he was reported to have said.
Why? Because his father, Dave Efron, used to serve under the Merchant Marines and often visited the Philippines in the past (Mindoro in particular). He’s also flying in with Zac for the trip.
“Zac has always had this curiosity and/or mystique over the Philippines since he was a kid,” said Dave. “The beaches there are lovely and we can’t wait to come!”
“Sometimes my father will disappear for weeks ‘cause he’s enjoying the Philippines so much. So I’ve always wanted to come and visit,” added Zac.
Zac Efron is trying to give up his smoking habit by puffing on an electronic cigarette. The “High School Musical” star has kicked tobacco in favour of fake cigarettes, which use vapour and nicotine to help quell smokers’ cravings.
And the hunk indulged himself by taking his gadget with him on a night out in New York last week, but reportedly couldn’t help sneaking out for the real thing midway through the evening.
A source tells New York Post gossip column Page Six, “He was puffing on the electric cigarette with friends in a back corner booth but then he went outside and walked down the block to sneak cigarettes.” [Source]
Zac Efron’s affinity with Pinoys not only rests on his previous romance with Filipino-American actress Vanessa Hudgens, but it encompasses his immense interest in local culture, even Filipino cuisine. The 24-year-old Hollywood actor related in a statement that his father, David Efron, “has been to the Philippines several times, so I’ve always wanted to visit and try the local dishes like adobo.”
His father likewise “has been telling me great stories about it (Philippines),” Zac further enthused.
Zac will most likely get a taste of local dishes when he visits the Philippines on Sept. 29 for his fan conference for Penshoppe.
His highly-anticipated arrival was announced last month by the Penshoppe management, months after Zac signed his endorsement deal with the clothing brand.
In an earlier interview with GMA-7’s “Startalk,” Zac related that he wants to try surfing, diving, and hanging out in various destinations in the country.
The fan con, he added, “is an amazing, amazing excuse to go to the Philippines.”
Zac started his career in 2002 by appearing in a handful of television series. He eventually rose as a household name four years later via the Disney original movie, “High School Musical,” where he met and fell in love with Vanessa Hudgens. Film opportunities came his way shortly after, having been cast in “Hairspray” (2007), “17 Again” (2009), “Charlie St. Cloud” (2010), and “New Year’s Eve” (2011), to name some. He also lent his voice in the animated musical-comedy “The Lorax,” released last March. Fans, meanwhile, saw a more mature Zac in the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel, “The Lucky One.”
Zac is the latest prized addition to Penshoppe’s roster of international endorsers. “Vampire Diaries” star Ian Somerhalder, Thai superstar Mario Maurer, and “Gossip Girl” cast members Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester have earlier signed up with the 26-year-old clothing company. [Source]
In another example of the upside-down world celebrities can create at the Toronto International Film Festival, it was Zac Efron who attracted huge crowds of mostly young women to the Princess of Wales Theater for the Sunday premiere of the new film by Ramin Bahrani, director of “Chop Shop” and “Goodbye Solo.” Not exactly the filmmaker’s usual demo, as Bahrani himself said onstage while introducing the film with his producers: “You don’t care about any of us, I know it,” acknowledging that the delighted ladies were really there to see Efron.
As soon as the one-time “High School Musical” star took the stage with fellow cast members, including Dennis Quaid, a squeal of “I love you, Zac Efron!” came from the audience, to which he playfully responded “I love you back!”
With his upcoming starring role in Lee Daniels’ “The Paperboy” and his work in Bahrani’s drama, Efron’s recent career clearly has taken an indie turn. “At Any Price” is a rich, layered story about the current state of American values, with Bahrani comparing the film in his introduction to “Death Of A Salesman,” adding, “One of the things I love about Bruce Springsteen or John Steinbeck or Arthur Miller: They love America, you can feel it in their work. But they are also not afraid to criticize it. That’s something I hope we’re doing in this film.”
The film stars Quaid as Henry Whipple, an Iowa farmer and seed salesman, struggling to hold both his business and his family together. He wants the family farm to go to one of his sons, but they have other plans. One is traveling the world, while the other (Efron) has dreams of making it as an auto racer. The tension between generations pushes Henry into some questionable business decisions that ripple out into greater consequences than he could have ever imagined.
Bahrani spent some six months with co-writer Haillie Elizabeth Newton living among Iowa farmers as research for the film.
“Like a lot of people, I wanted to know where my food comes from,” Bahrani said after the screening, “and to know about that you have to go to Iowa because that’s where corn comes from.”
“All the farmers kept saying ‘expand or die,’ ‘get big or get out,'” he said, “and I wanted to know what happens when you value that idea more than your community or your family or yourself even. What would happen to this family and more specifically to the soul of this man? I feel this obsession with expansion and this obsession with money and succeeding has warped us, and Dennis’ soul is calcified, petrified somehow and in the course of the film I wanted this petrifaction to crack and I wanted to see that there was a man there.”
Sony Pictures Classics will release the film early next year, with the Sunday night screening completing its circuit of the festival trifecta of Venice, Telluride, Colo., and now Toronto. Near the end of the Q&A a question came from one of the young Efron fans in the audience as to why there was no clear resolution at the end of the film.
“When I look around the world I see people getting away with it. And they’re dancing on top of you,” said Bahrani. “And I didn’t think it makes a lot of sense. This man is haunted by it. And I’m not sure who else is. And I don’t know what happened to the world that this is acceptable, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. So I’m asking you what is the resolution. And that’s up to your generation.” [Source]
If Zac Efron wants to become a serious actor in Hollywood, he’ll need to embrace his serious fans. Even if that means indulging those who only want to remember his “High School Musical” days.
“The biggest sin any star can make is disrespecting [his] fans: The people who got him there,” says veteran publicist Howard Bragman.
This week, both of Efron’s worlds collided when his enthusiastic HSM fans greeted him at the premiere of his new drama “At Any Price.” To their delight, the actor embraced them. Still, like so many former Disney stars — think Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez — Efron has tried to distance himself from his kid friendly past. And for the most part, it’s worked.
Since singing his way through “High School Musical 3: Senior Year,” the actor has focused on considerably more dramatic roles, starring in 2008’s period-drama “Me and Orson Welles,” and 2010’s rom-com “Charlie St. Cloud.” In October, he’ll hit the big screen in “The Paperboy,” a film that involves murder, sex, and a scene where Nicole Kidman pees on Efron. Really.
Clearly, Efron has moved on from his Disney days. And yet, everywhere he goes, hoards of screaming “High School Musical” fans seem to follow. Just as Justin Timberlake shouldn’t laugh at a 30-year-old girl who wants him to sign her very used VHS copy of the Mickey Mouse Club, Efron needn’t dismiss his own Disney fans. Even if they can get a bit crazy.
“Zac is playing smart,” says Bragman. “He has the class of an old time Hollywood star, is growing as a man and as an actor, and if he continues along this path he will retain his current fans along the way and grow an even bigger fan base.” [Source]
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