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17 Again: Schedule, Interviews, Reviews (NY Magazine, Sunday Mercury)


April 13th: The View (Zac)
The Today Show (Zac)
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)
Craig Ferguson (Tom)
April 20th: Ellen (Leslie)
April 21st: Jimmy Fallon (Tom)
April 24th: Ellen (Matt)
April 26th: Berlin premiere
April 27th: Madrid premiere

Big Pictures News
17 no more, Efron vows: never again

LOS ANGELES -- Even when you're a teen idol with shrieking girls everywhere, there remains a nerd within.

Zac Efron, now 21, can't get his mind out of the classroom. "Once, I actually got sent home from high school," Efron says. "I went up in front of my Spanish class. The assignment was to write a sentence on the chalkboard. And my pants fell down to my ankles."

It wasn't a publicity stunt.

"The teacher got so flustered that she sent me home," Efron says. "I guess you could call it my nerd moment. It was also a major wardrobe malfunction."

Ah, if there were only camera phones. Those high school kids could sell those photos to the Enquirer now.

Efron is the second male teen idol these days -- the one who doesn't wear fangs and star in vampire movies. Fan girls with crinkled magazine pages for him to sign wait in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills for him to materialize. Efron does do a lap, but with his real-life leading lady on his left.

Yes, it's Efron and his main squeeze Vanessa Hudgens all lovey-dovey walking hand-in-hand through the lobby. They wait until they're on the elevator to kiss. Zanessa's as cute as two Smurfs with perfectly windblown hair (even when they're indoors), designer faded jeans and matching baseball caps and sunglasses.

So much for the rumors that they're not together anymore. Efron is happy to clear up other tabloid stories about him. Start with the fact that he just pulled out of the "Footloose" remake.

That one is true. "It was a complicated decision," he says. "So many things go into saying yes or no to a film. This wasn't an easy one for me."

Doesn't the star of "Hairspray" and the "High School Musical" franchise want to kick up his heels anymore? "I'm not Fred Astaire," he says. "I only learned how to dance for 'High School Musical.' I'm ready for new challenges. I want to act and do serious roles.

"I'm a Renaissance man," he says.

He'll get no argument from "Hairspray" producer Adam Shankman. "The kid is literally like talent wrapped in skin," says Shankman, who also produces Efron's comedy "17 Again," opening Friday.

"Zac's limitless talents are something I realized on 'Hairspray.' If he wants to do 'Black Hawk Down' or work with Michael Mann or James Cameron, he should do it," Shankman says. "You have to mix it up."

In "17 Again," the year is 1989 and Efron is high school basketball star Mike. He blows the big game when his girlfriend informs him (just before tipoff) that she's pregnant. He doesn't get the scholarship, marries the girl and, a decade and a half later, the grown-up (played by Matthew Perry) has a lackluster job, two sullen teen kids who are in high school and a looming divorce.

Mike wishes he could go back to high school and do it all over again -- differently.

He gets his wish.

Enter Efron as the 17-year-old version of himself again, but with the mind of an adult. "It was hard work being Matthew in my mindset, but going back to high school as a kid in 2009," Efron says.

Perry and Efron as the same character spent days rehearsing, so Efron could inhabit an older self who feels like a failure in life. "Matthew and I went back and forth. We did some of the scenes together as the younger and older Mike," Efron says. "I would watch his scenes as the older Mike. We really had to figure it out."

Perry says, "I finally realized on day five why Zac was looking at me so much."

Efron counters, "It was a good idea for us to rehearse together and read each other's lines. He would say, 'How would you say this?' He would call me when I wasn't even on the set and say, 'I know you're at a dinner, but how would you say that line?' "

Efron even studied old episodes of "Friends."

"I did a lot of thinking about high school," he says. "I was a nerd in high school, to be honest. It was all downhill until I was 17. Maybe I was really just average. I worked hard in school and got good grades.

"I wasn't bullied," he says. "But I wasn't the It Guy in high school. I was just the guy who melded into the crowd."

For the father-son scenes, Efron (in 17-year-old form) must befriend his teen son, but give him the wisdom of a grown man.

Efron says, "I thought about the way my dad tried to have those talks with me and my little brother. He was always passionate and energetic. He delivered those talks like a champ. That's what came out of me during that particular scene in the movie."

There was something else that came out of Zac.

"One night, he was turning green between takes and making these horrible expressions between takes. I thought he hated me," says "17 Again" director Burr Steers. "The next morning, he was rushed to the hospital and had an appendectomy. An hour after surgery, he called to apologize to me for delaying filming."

A week later, Efron was back on the set. "I had my appendix out as an emergency and then took one day off or two," Efron says in a matter-of-fact voice.

He had a little time to mull over the plot of his film. Yet, would he want to go back in time?

"Never," Efron says. "In high school, everything is heightened. You feel like an adult at 17. You have the social awareness of an adult, but you're still young and stupid.

"It's just such a hard time," he says. "You take everything too seriously.

"If I could go back, I'd tell myself to chill out. I'd remind myself, 'This is just the beginning. Get ready. Stuff is about to pop.' "

He's known to teens everywhere as Troy Bolton from the three "HSM" movies. "I'm having the time of my life. It's an understatement to say I'm very happy with my life right now," he says.

"But I do want a chance to switch it up."

So what does he hope to do to ... relax?

"Hopefully, I won't have a summer vacation," he says. "I want to work."

Big Picture News Inc.


GateHouse News Service (Taunton Gazette)
Zac Efron and Matthew Perry split time as the same character in ‘17 Again’

Those who have had their fill of kid-adult “body-switching” movies (Lindsay Lohan in “Freaky Friday,” Jennifer Garner in “13 Going on 30,” Tom Hanks in “Big”) might want to think twice before skipping the similarly-themed “17 Again.”

The story of a down-on-his-luck adult (Matthew Perry) who wishes he could be back in high school for a second chance to get things right – and magically wakes up one day as a high school senior (Zac Efron) – is a refreshing take on the genre, with solid performances by both actors.

Efron and Perry don’t have any scenes together, but they do play the same character. They recently got together to speak about working on the film and personal experiences they used to make it realistic.

“We had a couple of days where we’d just come in and hang out and talk,” said Efron, who made his name in the “High School Musical” films and “Hairspray.” “But most of the work we did on figuring out the characters was just done in rehearsals.”

The film’s director, Burr Steers, suggested that the two men rehearse together and even read each other’s lines for each other to understand different aspects of the character.

“I finally realized on maybe day five why Zac was looking at me so much,” said Perry, laughing. “During rehearsals I would say, ‘How would you say this?’ And he would say, ‘Well, how would you say this?’”

Mike O’Donnell, the character they both play, comes across as nerdy in the film. But neither actor will admit to being in that category during their own high school days.

“I was pretty cool until about freshman year of high school, and it was downhill till I was about 17,” says Efron, who’s now 21. “It all came back later, but when I was in school, I worked hard, got good grades, and was not all that cool, so to speak. I wasn’t bullied much, but I wasn’t like the ‘it’ guy at school.”

“Friends” alum Perry, 39, remembers going to a high school that only had about 60 people in his senior class.

“There was a group of cool kids and group of really dorky kids,” he said. “And I was probably the coolest of the dorky kids.”

Some of the comedy in the film comes from so many characters getting their turn to find an excuse to slap Efron’s Mike. All of it was done in one massive filming session.

“We had a stunt coordinator who was instructing everyone how to slap,” Efron said. “He was saying, ‘You guys really have to sell it. You have to slap him!’”

He added, dryly, “It was amazing watching everybody have so much fun that night.”

But the film also has a warm and heartfelt side, best shown in a scene where the young-again Mike has to give some “fatherly” advice to his own daughter, who is his age at the time.

“I thought about the way my dad tried to have those talks with me and my little brother,” Efron said. “He was always very passionate and energetic, and he delivered it like a champ. He was really excited, so that’s what came out in that particular scene.”

Asked to talk about any memories they have from when they were 17, Perry had to stretch a little, but said, “I wish I could go back and tell myself to chill out a little bit more and not take everything so seriously. Everything’s so serious when you’re that age.”

Yet Efron, still so close to that tender age, said, “You feel like you’re an adult when you’re 17. You have the social awareness of an adult, but that doesn’t really apply in high school because everyone’s so young and stupid. I’d probably go back and tell myself to chill out, that this is just the beginning.”

And both of them have very different thoughts of growing older.

“I’m much happier now than I was when I was that age,” admitted Perry. “I think things get better; you get a little lighter as you get older.”

But Efron practically shouted, “I cannot wait to grow up. Apparently it’s just starting to get exciting.” He laughed and added, “No, I’m being sarcastic. I’m having a wonderful time. This is like the best job in the world. I wake up every day with a new challenge, whether it’s learning a new skill set, doing interviews, filming. I’m very happy with my life right now.”

Backstage banter

The two film stars are clearly friends and at ease with each other.

Here is an excerpt from our conversation:

Perry: Zac, are you definitely not going to be in the remake of “Footloose?”

Efron: I am not.

Perry: I’ll be doing that now. (Laughs.) Why aren’t you doing it?

Efron: I was just looking for a change.

Perry: So what’s next?

Efron: Something that’s still in early development, called “The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud.”

Perry: But it’s still about a town that refuses to dance.


New York Magazine Review

Let me say right out that I’m prepared to suspend my disbelief and go with the idea that a man who made a fateful decision at the age of 17 and spent the next twenty years regretting it and being an ineffectual, sad-sack husband and father could meet an angel in the person of an old janitor and magically become his teenage self again and have the chance to take the road not taken. Fine—it’s a movie. What I can’t accept is that the stringy, insipidly earnest teen idol Zac Efron would grow up to be the defensively ironic, twisty-faced Matthew Perry. Actually, even with actors who echoed each other’s mannerisms, 17 Again would still be lame. Efron labors hard to get laughs, but after years of working for the Disney Channel, all he knows how to do is mug and lip-synch, and this movie doesn’t even have singing. As the wife, Leslie Mann has a cute drunk scene where she closely peers into his face and slurs that he looks like her husband when he was 17, but then the character sobers up and goes back to being oblivious. Trust me, the best dialogue is in Elvish. The movie was directed by Burr Steers, whose résumé includes the bracing Igby Goes Down and episodes of Big Love. The only explanation is that 17 Again is autobiographical: A janitor made him a teenager, he took the road more traveled by, and he’s now a studio hack.


Sunday Mercury Review
four stars

Big backwards

Cast: Zac Efron, Matthew Perry, Thomas Lennon, Leslie Mann, Michelle Trachtenberg, Sterling Knight

Plot: Fired from his job and about to get divorced, Mike O’Donnell (Perry) wishes he could go back to 1989 and have his life over again. That’s when he swapped a bright future to marry his pregnant girlfriend Scarlett (Mann). Due to some “spirit guide transformation magic”, he finds himself 17 again and in the body of Zac Efron (pictured).

He goes to live with his best friend Ned (Lennon), poses as his son and enrols in his old high school, along with his son Alex (Knight) and daughter Maggie (Trachtenberg). That gives him the chance to protect Alex from bullies and boost his confidence, while stopping Maggie dating a loser and trying to repair his relationship with Scarlett. There is comic potential in his daughter fancying him and his wife wondering why he looks so familiar.

Good points: Zac fans will love him in this – he gets to stretch his acting ability and gets his shirt off! There are also lots of funny lines, with Lennon proving to be a rich source of comedy as a rich geek.

Bad points: It’s a bit sappy towards the end and perhaps the Lord of the Rings jokes are overdone.

Should I see it?: Yes if you like teen comedies and fancy a modern version of Big in reverse.


I should also mention that 17 Again came in no. 3 at the UK box office this weekend... according to

"The biggest single opener playing a solo market was Entertainment Film Distributors' release in the U.K. of "17 Again," a comedy with Zac Efron and Matthew Perry, which laughed all the way to $3.8 million from 407 screens."

They did not mention the opening numbers from Australia but they should be up soon enough.
Tags: 17 again, interviews, reviews: 17 again, schedule
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