?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
Aug 2nd
01:49 pm
LA Times: 'Zac Efron's (halting) reinvention'  
From LA Times writer, Steven Zeitchik:

There's a piquant irony in Zac Efron backing out of "Footloose" because he didn't want to be the "High School Musical" guy -- and then having the movie he chose to do draw mainly from the "High School Musical" set.

Efron's soapy "Charlie St. Cloud" grossed just $12.1 million this weekend, largely because of goodwill from tweens and teens who like Efron from his Troy Bolton days, according to box-office experts. Showing less goodwill were critics, who collectively gave the tearjerky story of a lovelorn man conjuring up memories of his late brother a mere 24% on Rotten Tomatoes, and used such descriptors as "unintentionally hilarious" (the New York Post, Lou Lumenick).

But in an interview with my colleague Amy Kaufman, Efron said he felt confident that acting in a serious drama would help him move into the next phase of his career.

"I was looking at 'Footloose' and how great it would be, and every person you talk to is like, 'That's a great move. That's exactly what we would expect from you,' " he said, pouring himself some tea last month. "And after you hear that a few times, you kind of just go, 'I have to look myself in the face.' I wanted to slow down and do something challenging for the right reasons — not for the money or notoriety or for more fame or to be the king of genre."

Compared to singing and dancing through homeroom, the movie represents an evolution, but only the way going from an amoeba to a paramecium might be considered an evolution.
The shaky reviews might suggest Efron should stick with the tween roles as long as he can eke them out. But it's clear he wants more, and it's also clear he has at least a little more talent than this (it was even clear in "17 Again"). And yet he continues with the maudlin teen fare, a point underscored last week when it was revealed he was attached to "The Lucky One," the latest Nicholas Sparks Kleenex-puller. While superficially a more dramatic role, the project smells of the same saturated schmaltz of "High School Musical," only in non-singing form.

The simple answer to this conundrum -- assuming he wants to solve it -- is for Efron to choose better material, though of course that presumes it's there to be chosen. "St. Cloud" came about because it was the most adult option in a sea of kiddie choices. Those options may be expanding a little for Efron now, especially as he gets his production company going and studio Warner Bros. redoubles its efforts to keep him happy. The studio recently optioned remake rights to the Swedish hit "Snabba Cash," a movie about an ingénue drug dealer that's as much character piece as action thriller. So he at least should have a few more choices over the coming years.

There's a silver lining in the failure of "Charlie St. Cloud"; you could look at the results and infer that audiences don't want to see Efron as a vulnerable heartthrob. It's an open question, though, whether we want to see him as something else.

Personally I disagree with the last paragraph. To me the silver lining is, you put him in a movie that was not that well-reviewed and not that well-promoted and it still made $12 million dollars. Jeezbee pointed out to me The Playlist made this connection as well and it's true. If he wasn't a star, this would've banked $6 million tops, just like the similarly melodramatic and poorly marketed film Extraordinary Measures. People showed up for him. I do agree about the better material thing though... and about The Lucky One.
 
 
Mood: busybusy
40 40 comments Comment
 
 
Beejeezbee on August 3rd, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
While I absolutely agree that he needs to find a project which people want to see independently from Zac (as you know), I think to really become a star you need star vehicles too.

But it needs to be a healthy mix and esp in the beginning when he has to overcome so many prejudices with new audiences, he can't do that with traditional vehicles. For that, he needs to be part of movies people watch "despite" him. (Although doing only movies like that doesn't make you a star. See Orlando Bloom or Tobey Maguire.)

Warner Bros has invested a lot in Zac with giving him that production deal. But for them to have this investment pay off (and I'm absolutely convinced it can), they need to help him into one of those "event" movies.

For example, Jack the Giant Killer would be absolutely perfect. Not only is it a fantasy movie (ie not hardcore fanboy stuff but rather a 4-quadrant movie which also attracts families where his star power can even help) but the lead character is PERFECT for him. I admit that some projects I would hope he gets, he is a stretch for the role but here he truly is a great fit - in about everything from age, statue, personality and dynamic. If WB wants to maximize the value of the movies he's developing, they should get him in there. But I know it's not going to happen and I'll be very frustrated when they announce casting. w/e.
Shruticalcified on August 3rd, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
They're gunning for an unknown for that, right? =/

Just so everyone knows, I didn't mean that needs to be in films with other actors/directors who have big names (though that would be nice too). I meant what you're saying here - movies that are interesting in any way beyond just him. Not just....that Zac Efron movie. That can only take him so far.
Bee: Zac - GQ - In Car 1 (full)jeezbee on August 3rd, 2010 12:19 am (UTC)
Yeah. That's at least what they are saying. :(

There was an article a while back which said that Singer was talking to Andrew Garfield and Aaron Johnson. Who aren't unknowns to fanboys but probably to the general public.

It's particularly frustrating because I honestly think he would be great in that role. I hope his people are trying everything... studios often change their mind.
Shruticalcified on August 3rd, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
Can I be prepared for Cady to off herself if they go with Aaron then?
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on August 3rd, 2010 12:36 am (UTC)
LOLLLLLL