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17 Again Interviews: San Francisco Chronicle, She Knows, Sudbury Star (2), STV

Interviews below but first vote if you think Zac can last here. And an updated...


April 11th: SNL
April 13th: The View (Zac)
The Today Show (Zac)
Possibly other NY appearances ie GMA
David Letterman (Zac)
April 14th: Los Angeles premiere (6pm @ Grauman's Chinese Theater)
April 15th: Ellen (Zac)
April 16th: Jimmy Kimmell Show (Zac)
David Letterman (Matthew)
Chelsea Handler (Melora)
April 17th: The View (Matthew)
Jay Leno (Leslie)
Jimmy Fallon (Matthew)
Much Music (Zac, recorded)
Bonnie Hunt Show (Michelle)
April 21st: Jimmy Fallon (Tom)
April 26th: Berlin premiere
April 27th: Madrid premiere

San Francisco Chronicle
Zac Efron is graduating. But he has always been ahead of his grade.

"I've always enjoyed talking with adults. I wasn't that kid hiding behind my dad's leg. If I got a question, I would answer it. I had questions for them," he says, then pauses and smiles: "I might have been an obnoxious little kid."

The 21-year-old, catapulted into tween-girl frenzy-inducing fame by the "High School Musical" movies, is remarkably sane. Yes, ladies, his eyes are every bit as shocking blue and dreamy in person (at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills to promote "17 Again"). But much more surprisingly, he radiates a grounded quality that's uncommon for anyone his age, much less someone at the eye of the hormonal storm.

"I wasn't in an after-school program with kids my own age," he says of getting into theater as a youth. "I was with professionals who had goals, who wanted to be the best they could possibly be. I enjoyed that because that's how I wanted to be, in everything I did.

"I had to get good grades. There was a lot riding on it. I always knew I couldn't necessarily buy my way into college. I did my homework first when I got home."

In the new film, 37-year-old Mike (Matthew Perry) is detached from his teenage kids and getting divorced from high school sweetheart Scarlet (Leslie Mann). Mike wishes he could return to his glory days, and through familiar movie magic, finds himself in his 17-year-old body (Efron), tearing up the basketball court and making girls faint.

"The concept was fairly unoriginal," Efron acknowledges. "When (producer) Adam Shankman told me the idea, I made a mental note to forget it," but he liked the script and, like Perry and Mann, was drawn to working with "Igby Goes Down" director Burr Steers. The actor relished the challenge of playing an older man with a father's concerns.

"I thought of my dad a lot. How would he be? I mean, my dad enforced the rules - he wasn't too strict, but he definitely laid down the law," he says, referring to scenes in which he lectures his unknowing children. Was David Efron aware he was Zac's inspiration? "He can't help but know," Efron says. "I used some of the words from his repertoire: 'How can you girls respect yourselves?' "

Efron is excited about his next project, a drama about coping with loss called "The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud," which reunites him with Steers. The grim subject matter might confound some fans (no musical numbers!), but the actor's co-stars aren't worried about his approach to the business.

"He's very level headed, smart and hardworking and just wants to do his best. He's very focused, like tunnel vision. It's admirable for someone his age, faced with what he's faced with," says Mann, who admits Efron's presence was a prime mover in her joining the cast. "My daughter insisted. 'You're going to do this. I won't hear another word about it.' She's really bossy."

Once Mom was in, "at first she was screaming and jumping around. Zac called for her 10th birthday; her girlfriends were going crazy and he talked with her on speaker phone for, like, 10 minutes. He's such a sweetheart. Now it's a year and a half later and she's cooler about it," Mann says, affecting boredom: " 'What's up with Zac? Did you see him? I don't really care, but ... is he there?' "

Perry, who has swum in the paparazzi-and-fan-infested waters of outsize fame, said, "We shot at an actual high school, and I, because of my past, was a little concerned: 'Is there going to be somebody guarding me so it doesn't get crazy?' And I rapidly realized they were all there for Zac.

"He's got a good head on his shoulders. I was all geared up to give him advice about handling fame, but I don't think he needs it. We talked about video games because we're both big fans."

On the topic of fame, the youthful tabloid target chooses his words carefully.

"It's always an issue of keeping your personal life private and, at the same time, giving people enough so that they want to come with you on these adventures," Efron says. "I'm lucky I don't have a crazy dark side at this point. So it's been OK for me.

"The people who come up and say, 'Man, I'm enjoying what you're doing, I just want to shake your hand,' it uplifts you. You feel elated. And then there are the people who can go a little crazy. They pull out their cameras and things like that.

"It's a very small problem. It's not like it's the end of the world. I think it gets blown out of proportion."

What's not blown out of proportion, apparently, is Efron's Terminator-like professionalism.

"He had to have his appendix out during the filming," Perry said. "He missed one day and then was back. If I had my appendix out, I'd be out for a year. And he apologized to everybody about missing the day."

"I think it happened on Thursday, and we were supposed to film that Friday, and I had the rest of that weekend to sit down," Efron says. "It was a time crunch, man. I was supposed to leave for London to start 'Me and Orson Welles' - I think I was flying out the night we wrapped. We couldn't push an extra day or two, so it happened at the worst possible moment. Not only did it put '17 Again' in jeopardy, but it also could have ruined 'Me and Orson Welles' and 'High School Musical 3' if I was on bed rest for two weeks. I mean, I felt OK the day after."

When it's pointed out that most people might have missed more than one day, he says without affectation, "Yeah, but most people don't have three movies to get done in six months."

Quotable: A Call of Duty 4 junkie, Efron lamented the hours he and friends have thrown away on digitally blowing each other's brains out: "If I could give my 17-year-old self one piece of advice, it would be to disconnect the Xbox."


She Knows

Disney fan or not, you've likely at least heard of Zac Efron. Not only was he at the center of the of High School Musical pandemonium, but he's also still dating his leading lady – and the only HMS star prettier than him - Vanessa Hudgens. All this makes him tabloid fodder, while his good looks and young body make him an easy sell for the paparazzi.

In fact, when a light flashes halfway through our interview with Efron, he literally jumps, losing his train of thought, and then smiles apologetically. "Sorry, I'm paranoid," he explains. "Whenever I see a flash..."

In short, Efron has already arrived. The task set for him now is proving he's more than just a Disney megastar. "I've always loved trying new things and acquiring new skill sets," Efron shares. "Before High School Musical, I wasn't a singer or dancer - or basketball player, even! It was fun to learn those skills. Now it feels like it's time: I'm ready to try something else."

That's why, instead of signing on for more singing and dancing in Footloose, he decided to go for laughs and maturity in 17 Again. Along for the ride, and giving him guidance along the way, were castmates Matthew Perry (Friends), Thomas Lennon (Reno 911! and I Love You Man), Leslie Mann (Knocked Up) and Michelle Trachtenberg (Gossip Girl).

It all starts back in 1987, where big man on campus Mike (Efron) works up a sweat before the big high school basketball game.

"At the beginning of the movie, Mike is on top of the world and just wants to 'Bust a Move' with the cheerleaders," Efron previews, but Mike's perfect night takes a turn when girlfriend Scarlet (Mann) reveals she's pregnant. In chasing down his true love, the basketball star walks away from any chance at a college scholarship.

Cut to 20 years later: Mike, now played by Perry, is cruising for a divorce, crashing at his geeky pal's pad and trying to salvage a relationship with his kids. He is certain life has passed him by and that it can all be traced back to that one decision in 1987.

"I liked playing this character," Perry tells SheKnows. "I liked the idea that he's a beaten down guy, beat up by life and put upon. It was interesting and reminded me of some movies from the past that I liked a lot: Sort of It's a Wonderful Life with a little Groundhog Day in there."

As with the men in those movies, Mike is given another chance when he stumbles onto a bit of magic and the ensuing adventure is sure to change his outlook on life.
If i only knew then...
When Mike suddenly finds himself 17 Again, he takes his hot young bod and years of experience back to high school, intent on correcting the mistakes of his past.

"Certainly, it's a theme that has been covered in movies before, but every choice along the way in this movie took it up a notch," raves funnyman Lennon, who plays Mike's geeky best pal.

"When I read the script, there were a million things to play," Efron chimes. "That was the exciting thing about this movie and character. A lot of it was funny, but his mind's going a mile a minute: He's 37, pretending to be 17; he's a dad, pretending to be a best friend. Playing that kind of complicated character was fun."

For many involved in this project, however, the question was whether the Disney wiz kid could handle such complication, let alone carry the laughs. Producer Adam Shankman famously passed on Efron back when he was casting Hairspray – That is, until his production partner/sister Jennifer Gibgot heard what he'd done!

"The expletives didn’t stop, because she thought he was going to be one of the biggest stars," recalls Shankman. "She has the nose: The It-factor in him is so high wattage. He changes energy when he enters a room and happens to be more talented than people know. If you're going to judge him based him on the High School Musicals...he can only do so much better than what the material is."

Having learned his lesson, Shankman was quick to support his sister in selling Efron to screenwriter Jason Filardi and director Burr Steers for 17 Again. And now? Just about everyone on the team has a new project in mind for Efron.

"When I met him the first time, the thing I was most amazed by was how he can improvise as quickly and skillfully as any improviser I know and his physical comedy was the same," Lennon recalls. "There was obviously a great script, but there are also some in-betweens and nuances that are just me and Zac having fun together. He's just a natural."

The raves, however, go beyond the laughs. "The thing in this movie that was surprising was how women reacted to him making the transition to leading man," reflects Burr. "It's a different style of acting. It's about making that transition from a kid with the face-acting, the indicating and the line readings to being present, listening and responding to things. He's just going to get better and better."

As a leading man, not to mention one who is supposed to an adult, Efron had to do – or imagine – some serious growing up.

"Mike takes on a lot of responsibilities at a young age and I don't have that life experience," Efron intones. "There was one scene, in particular, when Michelle (Trachtenberg) was bawling and I had to 'console my daughter.' I didn't know what I was going to do with the scene, but when I showed up and Michelle was actually doing it, I didn't have to think about it: My fatherly instincts kicked in."

To complicate things a bit more, Efron had to match his performance to that of his older counterpart, Perry. "Before we started shooting, we had a couple weeks of rehearsal," Efron recalls. "We hung out and read over the scripts a couple times. Highlighted moments that Matthew would be perfect for. It was just me standing in for him."

"It took a couple of days to realize why he was staring at me so much and watching me move," Perry teases. "It was fun. We were trying to figure out how each other would do the lines. I was at a Christmas party and my phone rang - making me the envy of every young girl in the world, because it said 'Zac Efron'! He said, 'How would you say this?' I said it into my phone and six months later, I saw it coming out of his mouth!"

As the story progresses onscreen, young Mike finds himself juggling the feelings he still has for his wife, who is now also his best friend's mom. That meant Efron spent most of the movie trying to woo an older woman.

"I've had a crush on Leslie since I was ten years old," Efron reveals. "George of the Jungle was my favorite movie and she was amazing. I was so thrilled (she was) going to play this part, because I knew it wouldn't be weird."

"I was very aware of not making it creepy, because my daughter loves him and I play a mother of a girl who could love him," Mann adds. "I think we pulled it off."

Pulling off that same romantic chemistry with Trachtenberg, however, would have been weird. In fact, she was chosen precisely for her lack of chemistry with Efron.

"Zac and I interact like brother and sister," Trachtenberg shrugs. "It was, from the second that we met, an inherent, fantastic camaraderie. Yes, he's a very sexy man, but I would hope that when you're watching the movie and I'm chasing after my father, you're really creeped out. If you're not, you could consult a physician!"

With 17 Again set for release April 17 and threatening to lure adults into the Efron fandemonium, the young star seems poised to go wherever he wants, but he's not looking to use his cache to green light any projects just yet.

"The things I'd like to be doing or feel ready for or wish I could green light are the things that are just out of reach," he explains. "There may in fact be a project I could green light right now and start filming, but I can't say that would be the most appealing thing. I want to move forward. It's about the challenge for me."

While he looks for the next big project, he's not resting on his laurels. His next film, Me and Orson Welles, is set for release later this year; he and girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens just hosted a pool party for the likes of Justin Long, Nicole Ritchie, Joel Madden, Queen Latifah, Brody Jenner, Carmen Electra, Lance Bass and Nicole Sullivan and now he's set to host Saturday Night Live this weekend, April 11!

"It's going to be amazing," he says. "It's been that dream in the back of my head since I was about 10 years old and there's an amazing cast. I can't wait. I would love to do a digital short and hope to get to do something with Andy (Samberg)."

Clearly, Efron is one to keep your eye on. Just don't expect to find him on any of those new fangled social networking sites.

"I don’t have a Twitter, a MySpace or Facebook or anything like that," he admits. "I value having people not knowing where I am or what I'm doing. 'I'm on the toilet...Still on the toilet....almost done on the toilet...'"

We didn't think it was possible – but yes, that would be too much information Zac!


The Sudbury Star (2)
'Talent wrapped in skin'
Zac Efron's future is bright and with 17 Again the heartthrob is looking to prove he can carry a movie

At 21, Zac Efron's growing pains have likely just begun.

Consider: The daunting transition he faces as he segues from teen heartthrob to legitimate leading man. How daunting is it really? Just ask John Travolta and Michael J. Fox. Or, more cynically, Kirk Cameron and Scott Baio.

So maybe it's appropriate Efron's first solo movie outside the formidable High School Musical franchise concerns an awkward transformation of another sort: Namely, adolescence, albeit unspooled in reverse. In 17 Again,Efron stars as the teenage version of a 37-year-old husband and father (former Friends star Matthew Perry) who, through an inexplicable leap in cinematic logic, finds himself de-aged two decades. For Efron, the slapstick fantasy -- with its echoes of Big, Back to the Future and Freaky Friday--represents the truest test yet of his box-office appeal. How come? Because while Hollywood seems eager to crown him its new prince, the question remains: Can he attract moviegoers who aren't 1) teenage girls and 2) screaming?

"I want to be well-rounded, a renaissance man, so to speak," Efron tells journalists at a news conference in Beverly Hills. "That's what I'm trying to go for ... This was exactly what I was looking for. It was that chance to switch it up."

Well, sort of. Granted, at no point does he burst into song, but make no mistake:17 Again,which opens Friday, contains plenty to satiate his hard-core followers.

There's basketball! A high school! Even some dance moves! But it also smartly surrounds him with veteran actors (Perry and Leslie Mann, among them) to appease 20- and-30-somethings, and offers up a script that's neither edgy enough to off end his base, nor saccharine enough to repel potential newcomers. A flop is unlikely. Rather, it will probably further affirm Efron's meteoric ascent from middle-class roots: His father was a power plant engineer, while his mother was a secretary.

Now thanks to the phenomenon of the Disney HSM franchise (the last of which earned $90 million at the North American box office), he's estimated to be worth as much as $10 million U. S., according to Forbes magazine. A far cry from the days when he was just an "average" high school student.

"I was pretty cool until freshman year of high school and then it was downhill until I was about 17," Efron remembers. "And then something happened and it all came back. But that was the time I was average -- I worked hard, got good grades. I was not so cool, so to speak."

Even now he describes his circle of best friends as "geeky fun-loving guys."

Still, downplay it as he might, the professional pressure on Efron is intense. The coming months -- and years -- will determine the shape of his career. If he still has one.

One good sign: Hollywood, desperate for young commodities, is convinced of his potential. Already, even before17 Again's release, there is talk he will star as the title character in a live-action adaptation of the animated adventure series Jonny Quest.More film offers will follow.

As producer Adam Shankman (who also directed Efron in 2007's Hairspray)puts it: "He's already got the girls to such an extent that guys hate him ... If he wants to go do Black Hawk Down or have the option to work with (directors) Michael Mann or James Cameron, you've got to mix it up. But that kid is literally talent wrapped in skin."

In fact, while the original script for 17 Again centred on a man transformed into a 14-year-old, the character's age was upped to 17 to suit Efron, who now gets to play a person desperate to redo his life. Understandably, it's a desire he can't quite relate to.

"The number one question I'm getting (doing press for this movie) is, 'If you could go back, would you change anything? If you could be 17 again, what would you do different?' But this is the best job in the world; I'm having the time of my life. I wake up every day with a new challenge in front of me, whether it's learning a new skill-set or doing interviews and press. It's always fun and it's always a challenge. I'm very happy with my life right now."

When an interview his 17 Again co-star Melora Hardin (The Office) recently gave to Parade magazine is mentioned -- one in which she said Efron is "struggling with his fame" -- he counters, "I'm honestly not having a tough time."

Moving forward,17 Again director Burr Steers believes his star has more on his mind than celebrity or clout. "It's about realizing his talent. The people he's modelling himself after are real actors ... And he's a hard worker."

As an example of Efron's commitment, Steers confirms during production of17 Again,Efron had to have his appendix removed.

"We were shooting late at night and I noticed he was turning slightly green," Steers says. "But he wouldn't quit. He's a very tough kid. He was making these horrible expressions between takes and I thought, 'He must hate my guts.' Then the next morning he was rushed to the emergency where he had an appendectomy. He called the next day to apologize for costing us a day of shooting. He's an incredibly driven, hardworking kid."

And a week after being hospitalized, Efron was back in the thick of the movie's slapstick. "He's so good at the physical stuff . I'd never seen anyone spin a basketball on their pinky before. Zac can do any physical trick like that."

Zac Taking Next Step ... And It Is Not A Dance

Zac Efron sounds ready to hang up his dancing shoes.

The teen idol -- who's to the Twitter crowd what John Travolta was to the disco generation-- confirms he has bolted from a remake of Footloose, the Kenny Loggins-fuelled coming-of-age drama that made Kevin Bacon a star 25 years ago. Everybody cut footloose? Apparently not.

"I'm just looking for a change," says Efron.

So you can probably scratch off any other musicals (original or redos) from Efron's to-do list until the 21-year-old has shown he can carry a hit movie without fancy footwork.

"There's so many factors that went into it," he says of his decision to bail on Footloose. "There's a million things and it was very difficult. But I'm excited (to do other things). I feel prepared and I'm hungry."

What this means for the new Footloose is up in the air. While High School Musical 3's Kenny Ortega remains set to direct, it will presumably be a harder sell without the star attached.

Instead, Efron may next re-team with his 17 Again director Burr Steers for the supernatural drama The Death & Life of Charlie St. Cloud. Jokes his 17 Again co-star Matthew Perry: "It's still about a town that refuses to dance."

Not quite. Efron would play a cemetery caretaker who strikes up a romance with a woman who may or may not be a ghost.

"It's still in early development right now," Efron says, stressing he has always considered himself an actor first, a dancer second.

"I did not dance at all before High School Musical. It was a skill-set I acquired for those movies. And even though I love it, there's many more things out there to try."

1, 2


In Grant’s Film Club, Zac Efron revealed it was refreshing to do some straight-up acting.

“It was one of the more important things about this movie that I looked forward to,” he said.

The teen pin-up sensation has previously starred in all-singing, all-dancing roles in the High School Musical movies and the musical-movie Hairspray.
Zac Efron happy to take a break from musicals

But in 17 again, Zac plays a dad caught in a young man’s body. The role, which sees a 37 year-old Matthew Donald been given a chance to be 17 again, had only a few very bad dancing moments in it.

“It was so much fun playing a character that really I can relate to in virtually no way,” he said and laughed.

So, he may only be 21 and very successful, but is there anything that Zac wishes he could go back and do all over again?

“There are so many things, but they are very small, everyone has those terrible embarrassing moments they wish they go and finesse over. I'm no exception,” he revealed.

But added: “I'm extremely happy with the way everything has turned out. Even my biggest mistake couldn't have been that bad because I'm here today and that's all I need. I'm happy.”


Also there is a radio interview with Key 103 Manchester here. Will try to YT it later.

Also side note there is some international media we do not have yet because they are unavailable outside the US and/or are not online. If you recorded it or can grab it from online, if you can either upload it yourself or message me (or jeezbee) and we'll work it out.

Media missing:
Mornings with Kerri-Anne (Australia) April 6th show
MTV Australia News bit here
Funniest Home Videos (Australia, heard of via Twitter)
MTV After Show Canada (2 shows apparently) here

Oh one last thing... the Inside Film Show:

Tags: 17 again, interviews, schedule, videos

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