ETA: forget to post the Production Notes.
The production notes are available as a PDF at the official site or here. The Zac parts:
“He’s incredibly cool,” attests Zac Efron, a fan of Marshall’s movies long before he became an actor, himself, and who recalls how easy it was to fall into sync with the veteran director at their first meeting. “You could say we’re from different eras, but we still had so much to talk about. I think it’s impossible to meet Garry and not instantly pick up his enthusiasm. We just try to keep up.”
Another expert on the subject of regrets would be Ingrid, “a meek, unassuming soul who has walked the same small circuit of her neighborhood and worked the same thankless job without complaint her entire adult life,” says Michelle Pfeiffer, who takes on the role of the easily overlooked assistant. “Afraid of her own shadow, she’s carved out a simple, safe existence that won’t throw her any surprises.”
Even so, there are surprises in store for her. Ingrid has a heart-pounding brush with mortality and it turns her life around in a dramatic way. Reviewing a list of longunfulfilled New Year’s resolutions, she finally summons the courage to quit her job, which is the first item on it, and embarks on a quest to cross off as many of the remaining items as possible before the clock strikes twelve.
But she’s going to need some help.
The filmmakers paired Ingrid with an unlikely yet perfect companion for her impromptu adventure: a confident young bike messenger named Paul, played by Zac Efron, with whom Pfeiffer previously co-starred in “Hairspray.” If Paul provides the wheels and resourcefulness Ingrid needs to beat the clock, then she, in turn, can offer him the one thing he covets most on this night of revelry: tickets to the hottest party in town, the Ahern Records Masked Ball. Intended for her ungrateful boss, the tickets were the last thing Ingrid purposefully picked up on her way out the door.
Efron sees Paul as “an energetic, fun-loving guy who prides himself on being a wheeler-dealer, a guy who gets things done and nothing breaks his stride. When Ingrid strikes this deal with him, he knows he’s definitely the man for the job. But along the way, the party becomes secondary to what turns out to be an amazing New Year’s Eve, and he spends every minute of it helping her and making her happy. It’s a real testament to the power of spreading joy.”
“We wanted the juxtaposition of a character who’s seen enough of life to have felt some missed opportunities, with someone who’s younger and doesn’t really think in terms of resolutions and regrets,” offers Rice. “We thought, let’s put these two together and watch them bring awareness to each other in a way that will change both their lives.”
“It’s sensational when you see this shy woman burst out of her shell and come alive. When you see that beautiful smile, it’s just magical,” says Marshall. “And Zac is a natural at being cool, which is the definition of Paul. But then you see other elements of his character come out as he gets to know her better.”