?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
Apr 10th
12:19 am
Zac Efron in USA Weekend  


"I'm growing up"
Can Disney superstar Zac Efron escape his "High School Musical" past?

By Jeanne Dorin McDowell

Even by Hollywood standards, Zac Efron has been blessed in the gene department. Sitting in a booth at Casa Vega, a Sherman Oaks, Calif., Mexican restaurant, it's hard not to be mesmerized by his eggshell-blue eyes lined with long lashes and that toothpaste-white smile peering out over the fish taco he's munching on. The gray knit beanie covering his head fails to prevent every waitress and female customer in this very dark joint from noticing the young star.

Still, as perhaps Efron understands better than most, life is not a Disney musical. "I'm at a transition point," Efron concedes, taking a measure of his current position in the Hollywood constellations. "My taste is changing. I'm growing up."



The change is not entirely obvious in his new movie, which is actually called "17 Again." In it, Efron, 21 in real life, again plays the cute guy, and a basketball star at that, à la "High School Musical," the monster hit movie series he starred in and which, he is quick to add, "is over" for him. The catch this time: A depressed 37-year-old with a failed marriage and career (Matthew Perry) gets to do over his life in the body of his 17-year-old self (Efron). Although still playing a teenager, Efron does it with his first hint of adult-style machismo.

"I saw it as a more complex part that could help me shift into adult material," he says hopefully.

Whether a movie called "17 Again," bound to be a hit with young girls, is the vehicle that will propel Efron from teen heartthrob to leading man remains to be seen. "The challenge for Zac Efron is to start to win over a general audience, including grown-ups, and to be taken seriously as an actor without losing his fan base of teens and tweens," says movie critic Leonard Maltin. "We're talking about the all-important transition from boyhood to manhood, and the term is not 'leading boy' but 'leading man.' Efron's got to prove he has what it takes to fans and critics."





In person, Efron, wearing a Beatles tee and worn jeans, is friendly, but super self-conscious about the interview. (In a second of exasperation, he blurts out, "I'm trying to figure out what you want me to say. What do you want me to say?") Growing up in the public eye, Efron has grappled with his own ambivalence about celebrity and what often has seemed like a 24/7 surveillance of his private life.

"I didn't want to be famous," he explains. "I get sick of seeing my own face around.

"I used to get so frustrated. For a while, I felt like I was completely lost in celebrity-land. I didn't know how to handle it. Now I know that I have to plot where I'm going, when I'm going there and where the back entrance is. It's like I'm playing a giant game of tag."





Given that, it is to his credit that he still, by many accounts, lives a relatively modest life for a guy who already earns several million dollars a picture. He lives in the San Fernando Valley, which is considerably less cool and expensive than the trendier Hollywood Hills or Santa Monica, and works out at a gym near his house. He likes to cruise around town, talking on his Bluetooth headset and listening to hip-hop. His idea of a great Saturday? "Hanging out with a group of friends and jumping on the 405 South to the beach for a day of sun and music," he says.

If it all sounds ridiculously "High School Musical" meets the Beach Boys, that's because Efron's roots are, in fact, laid down in the sand and surf of the bedroom community of Arroyo Grande. He had a relatively angst-free childhood.

"My parents really kept us anchored," Efron says of his dad, David, an engineer, and his mom, Starla, who worked in a winery for years, then opted to stay home with Zac and his younger brother, now 17 and a high school football player. "I played sports on weekends -- baseball, basketball -- and when I sucked at those, I started playing golf and ping-pong in the garage. After I lost interest, I started singing. I was always singing to the point where my parents would shout, 'Shut up, Zac! Enough already!' "





In high school, what he lacked in natural academic ability he made up for with determination, racking up an impressive 4.3 GPA and landing acceptance to the competitive University of Southern California. (He deferred going because of film projects.) "I wasn't a genius like some of my friends who slacked off and got A's," Efron says. "But I was a hard worker. I always give 100%."

When it comes to professional behavior, Lindsay Lohan he is not. To the contrary, Efron is known to do his homework, show up on time and make the most of it. For his role in "17 Again," he studied every detail of Perry's physicality and the tempo of his speech.

"Zac doesn't take anything for granted," says producer/director Adam Shankman, who directed Efron in the 2007 movie "Hairspray." "He never stops rehearsing, almost to an annoying degree. He's earned his way into more complicated roles."





What's next? For now, it's not clear. He has an art-house movie in the can, "Me and Orson Welles," with no release date. He recently opted out of starring in a "Footloose" remake, but he landed in a risqué photo spread rolling in the dirt with a naked model.

"I'm definitely not the best actor in the world at this point," he says, taking a last gulp of iced tea. "But hopefully, with time and effort and smart decisions, that will change."

As he exits Casa Vega, the paparazzi have tracked him down, and two rogue photographers shout questions at him. Efron smiles, pulls his beanie down over his head and takes off in his shiny black Audi.





Cover and cover story photographs by Julie Dennis Brothers for USA WEEKEND;
Grooming: Lina Hanson, Magnet L.A.; styling: Jenny Ricker, The Wall Group
Cover clothing: vintage T-shirt from What Comes Around Goes Around, L.A.; Inside clothing: shirt and suit pants by Dior Homme, vintage tie from What Comes Around Goes Around, L.A.

source
 
 
Mood: sleepysleepy
Music: The Acorn - Feral Chile
46 46 comments Comment
 
 
Beejeezbee on April 10th, 2009 06:52 am (UTC)
Ha, you're fast. I was about to leave you a message in the post below... I didn't think you would be still up. :)

Some of the pics are really great. The interview is so-so imo. After all the interviews we're getting and some of them are really good and some are "just ok", I'm wondering what makes the difference. I'm fairly sure it's the interviewer but what exactly? Making him comfortable/giving the impression that he's not getting jumped (figuratively and literally) might be one big part of it but it has to be more. I've been trying to figure it out over the last few articles/video clips we got but I haven't come to a conclusion yet.

The USA Today cover is a great surprise (as would be the GQ one). The one I've also been hoping for is an EW cover especially since it's the right medium for movies. It would be sensational if we would get that too.

I have to say that WB does a really good job with all the promo activities in the recent weeks. They've been doing a lot of stuff - I can hardly keep up with all the news we're getting.
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 07:14 am (UTC)
LOL yeah I checked the news once more before trying to go to sleep and that is what I found to keep me up. haha.

I think they are doing a nice job too. I am actually a little bit surprised. I think the only place I am disappointed in is the talk show circuit. I think they maybe should have utilized Tom Lennon and Leslie Mann more. And Zac not doing Leno is strange to me.

I would love an EW cover. Jennifer Hudson was on the cover this week and I still think she's more music than actor... so maybe a movie one this week makes sense... idk idk. I'm just going to cross my fingers.

I think I'll reply to the interview part of this comment tomorrow cause I need to sleep.
(no subject) - jeezbee on April 10th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
butterflybee260butterflybee260 on April 10th, 2009 07:03 am (UTC)

"In person, Efron, wearing a Beatles tee and worn jeans, is friendly, but super self-conscious about the interview. (In a second of exasperation, he blurts out, "I'm trying to figure out what you want me to say. What do you want me to say?") Growing up in the public eye, Efron has grappled with his own ambivalence about celebrity and what often has seemed like a 24/7 surveillance of his private life.

"I didn't want to be famous," he explains. "I get sick of seeing my own face around.

"I used to get so frustrated. For a while, I felt like I was completely lost in celebrity-land. I didn't know how to handle it. Now I know that I have to plot where I'm going, when I'm going there and where the back entrance is. It's like I'm playing a giant game of tag."

^^Awwww. He needs a hug. God I love him.

Okay the suspender pics are SEXY AS HELL! WTF at the one where he's slicking back his hair lmao...some of the pics I love (T shirt biting A**) and some are meh...but DAMN at the suspender ones...I need that iconed asap. lol.
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 07:14 am (UTC)
I love those pics but I don't like the orange background. :(

Thank god for photoshop.
(no subject) - butterflybee260 on April 10th, 2009 07:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zettaiyo on April 10th, 2009 07:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - butterflybee260 on April 10th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Kathy Santonininaner on April 10th, 2009 07:22 am (UTC)
this was my thought process:

aww cute.

oh hi.

ok time for a shower zac.

omg hot damn.
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC)
that was my plan. lol.
zettaiyo: pic#87616342zettaiyo on April 10th, 2009 07:29 am (UTC)
I want HQ!!
It's Audrey not Aubreyaudrey_za on April 10th, 2009 10:04 am (UTC)
I was about to post this- you are fast (and I was going to be all 'you should be sleeping' but... I have no room to talk!)

Where did all of these photos come from? I actually just can't go there right now with those. I just... nope. Going to bed and hopefully coherency will be in my favor by morning.
(Deleted comment)
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
lol. @ claw.

but i love the maroon sweater ones.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - glamour_addict on April 10th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
zaccy23zaccy23 on April 10th, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
Holy shit USA Weekend. How are these pics like 1,000,000 times better than Elle? Wow wow wow. Shower time:)
🦉willbeloved on April 10th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
These pictures, oh my god. His moment of frustration made me feel kinda bad for him. :[

Oh and I don't read all the reviews, so I'm not sure if you've seen this one yet or not, but here's one, just in case you haven't spotted it yet.
Troll St. Trollglamour_addict on April 10th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
what lovely images to wake up to. *^^*

I wish all these pics were going to be in USA Weekend.

umm question, what newspaper (and which issue, Sat or Sun) will I find this?
IceGoddess: my dirty little secretccmskatechick on April 10th, 2009 02:32 pm (UTC)
http://www.usaweekend.com/partners/partner_links/index.html

That will tell you all the papers across the country in which USA Weekend is affiliated with.

gotta agree with you - quite loverly to wake up to those this morning :)
(no subject) - glamour_addict on April 10th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ccmskatechick on April 10th, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - glamour_addict on April 10th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ohinternets on April 10th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Troll St. Trollglamour_addict on April 10th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
i saw that one. though i don't like them saying it makes few demands on zac. or maybe i should like it because zac makes it seem effortless. idk...
(no subject) - glamour_addict on April 10th, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
fatpeopleeatmefatpeopleeatme on April 10th, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
i cannot stop laughing, lol. some of these are ridiculous
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
i know, i was yelling (quietly though since it was very late or very early) at the screen when i first saw them... 'zac put down the props and why must you always play with your shirts.' lol him and shirts.
(no subject) - glamour_addict on April 10th, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - audrey_za on April 10th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - glamour_addict on April 10th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
wild at heart: ( ze ) ` drama at disneyland `jukeboxblues on April 10th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
God, I seriously love him more and more with every article. He just has no reservations about who he is and I love that.
Troll St. Trollglamour_addict on April 10th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
YAY AUROSAN!
Shruticalcified on April 10th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
These pics make me laugh so much, but I love the cover. IT'S SO HIM.

Ok apparently he did an interview with UK Ok! but I don't know where to find it.
ohinternets on April 10th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
He is really really ridiculously adorable.
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
he is.

side ?: do you know what lucas is up to at the moment? dancing ninja still shows as filming but it has been forever.
(no subject) - ohinternets on April 10th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ohinternets on April 10th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ehs_wildcats on April 10th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)